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.

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Recent News: Telephones

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Sparrow: Art Deco Rum Oasis Opens in the Gold Coast
Zagat, November 25th

The entryway features a small lounge area, as well as an antique phone booth adorned in gold letters that read, “Call your mother.” A long bar, with sea green tiles and light wood accent, takes up the center of the space. Additional seating in the form...Read more

Thanksgiving etiquette: Table manners taught in South Carolina
The Seattle Times, November 25th

At a time when cultural disruption seems to be winning an epic battle with tradition and there is no shortage of people willing to argue that table etiquette is as anachronistic as a rotary phone, some experts say the art of the table must be...Read more

Santa comes to Visit Bucks County
Bucks County Courier Times (subscription), November 24th

Just a few feet away several children were fascinated and confused by the iPhone's great great grandfather, a rotary phone, one of the regular displays. On Nov. 29, Dec. 6 and Dec. 13, Santa will be back at the center for visits and pictures, free of...Read more

1 Surprising Internet-of-Things Stock to Consider for Your Portfolio
Motley Fool, November 24th

Telecommunications companies have come a long way from rotary phones and wall jacks -- nowadays AT&T is helping companies keep track of their cargo as they make trans-oceanic flights. Industry experts are in agreement that the IIoT will experience ...Read more

Five reasons your résumé might be looking dated to an employer
The Denver Post, November 23rd

In the last month, Donna Svei of Los Angeles-based AvidCareerist says she has seen lots of things that make résumés look outdated: A rotary telephone icon next to an applicant's phone number, an envelope or stamp icon next to the physical mailing...Read more

I've Seen The Future Of Healthcare. I Like What I See.
Forbes, November 23rd

The typical health plan is a “rotary phone” whereas ZOOM+PHI is the iPhone of healthcare — a modern, tightly designed next-generation platform for health. While ZoomCare (now re-branded as ZOOM+) has been going for close to ten years as a chain of ...Read more

How Dialing 1&900 In The '90s Foreshadowed The Internet
Fast Company, November 23rd

Having two numbers was necessary at the time, since many viewers at the time would still have been using rotary phones. Until touch-tone phones became prominent a few years later, modern phone menus—as in, press 1 for Carter, press 2 for Reagan—just ...Read more

Hello: Here's how you can match Adele's look (rotary phone included)
The Globe and Mail, November 4th

Essie With The Band nail polish, $9.99 available at drugstores, mass retailers and through Thin Rim square sunglasses, $385 at Marc Jacobs. Kitsch vintage rotary telephone (from a selection), $53 through Laura Mercier Daring By...Read more