A Fascinating Visual History of Retro Telephones, 1876 – 1965

retro telephones

There’s so much I love about this graphic.

But first, you can enlarge the the graphic here to read the tiny print, but please come back for my scintillating commentary!

Here are the specific things I enjoy about it:

  • It’s a vintage graphic of vintage phones. That’s like a double-whammy of awesomeness for me.
  • The first phone in 1876 looks like Abe Lincoln’s stovepipe hat. It was known as the “Liquid Telephone” because it involved water and acid. Also, according to Antique Telephone History, what’s in the caption here is totally untrue.
  • Bell’s Centennial Model, the second image,  looks like a mini cannon.
  • Many of the the phones have fantastic names, like “Butterstamp,” because it resembles a butter stamp — which begs the question: What is a butter stamp? (A quick search reveals it’s an aptly named device that stamps butter); “Magneto” (before we have the X-Men character, we had the phone!); and “Princess” (sounds lame — and was probably targeted at women. Sigh.)
  • The 1878 Wall Set (second from the right, top row) looks like a broken robot. Actually, a few them look like broken robots.
  • The 1880 version (top row, far right) is simply named “Blake.” It’s the only one with a human name. Blake sounds like trouble.
  • Check out the Picture Phone in 1964. How many people owned one of those? Seems like it took many, many years before it was perfected with FaceTime.

More amusing things on my Retro Things Pinboard.

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