People started collecting phones shortly after Alexander Graham Bell patented them in 1876. Some of those early handmade wood telephones from the 1880s (e.g. those marked Charles Williams Jr. or American Bell) are among the most prized finds for telephone collectors.
Collectible antique and vintage telephones basically fall into three groups. Wood wall phones, which were produced from 1876 up through World War II, have lost much of their appeal (except those earliest models) as few collectors still remember growing up with them. Candlestick phones, produced from the 1890s through the 1920s, are still in great demand, especially the earliest turn of the century nickel-plated models.
Desk sets, including most phones after 1930, are the bulk of the hobby today, and range from early 1920s models with ringer boxes to the groovy 1960s and 70s Ericofon, Princess and Trimline models. The most commonly found phones are rotary dial models such as the Western Electric 202s (1930s), 302s (1940s-50s), and 500 sets (1960s and 70s).
While Western Electric is the big name for many American collectors, makers like Automatic Electric, Kellogg Switchboard and Supply, Stromberg Carlson and others are also in high demand. Many telephone collectors also focus on related items such as telephone signs and switchboards.
Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)
The Telephone Archive
Clubs & Associations
- Antique Telephone Collectors Association
- Telephone Collectors International
- Telecommunications History Group
- Telecommunications Heritage Group (UK)
- Australasian Telephone Collectors Society, Inc.
Other Great Reference Sites
Most watched eBay auctions
Recent News: Telephones
Source: Google News
Verizon, enemy of Open Internet rules, says it loves the “open Internet”Ars Technica, September 18th
“Supporting an open Internet and supporting the imposition on wireless networks of a regulatory regime first written for the rotary phone are two very different things, Silliman wrote. “As our filings make clear—and as the 'Open Internet Order' in...Read more
10 Subreddits Every Guy Should Subscribe ToSportsGrid, September 17th
Subreddits Every Guy Should Subscribe To Subreddits are like the Internet of the Internet. It's as if someone took the Internet and ironed it out, took out the wrinkles and then gave it to you with a bow wrapped on it. It's just like that. You should...Read more
West Haven High School dismissing early due to power outageNew Haven Register, September 17th
A rotary phone has been plugged in at Mackrille but is in and out so parents with questions can call central office at 203-937-4300 if they can't get through, Misur said. Parents may pick up their children or not send them to afternoon kindergarten if...Read more
Online Voter Info Key to Getting Hyper-Connected Millennials to the PollsPublicCEO.com, September 16th
A rotary phone is something in a museum to Millennials and they can't imagine a time when there were only a handful of over-the-air television stations and (gasp!) no internet. There's a generic term for them: digital natives. “This is the generation...Read more
Dose into 2014-15Yahoo Sports, September 16th
I don't consider myself an authority in this area (so, yes, put down that rotary phone, GMs who are scrambling to add your own analytical departments), although I've learned a lot about how some of these theories and numbers can be applied to the sport...Read more
Scott Reeder: Nostalgic for rotary telephone and a simpler timeKankakee Daily Journal, August 29th
An hour or so later when my wife got home from work she, too, gave it a bewildered look and said, "Why did you install that old thing? It doesn't even have Caller ID. How will we know whether to answer the phone or not?" Folks, it's not about nostalgia...Read more
Time to dial up a welcome break from technologySaukValley.com, August 27th
Time to dial up a welcome break from technology. Rotary phone hearkens back to simpler days. Published: Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT. Caption. A rotary telephone is back in columnist Scott Reeder's life as a way to disconnect, if for a moment, ...Read more
Nostalgic for rotary phone, simpler timeThe Herald-News, August 26th
It's what's called a rotary phone.” She gave it another skeptical look and walked away. Yes, when I dial, I actually dial. An hour or so later when my wife got home from work, she also gave it a bewildered look and said, “Why did you install that old...Read more