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
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A rotary phone wouldn't have been funny back in 1969, but it is today.” Giles says he's enjoyed selecting pop music that captures the best and worst of that time. “A lot of the songs are commentaries on the vagaries of romance,” he says. “People will...Read more
The “Selig Experience” attraction opens this week at Miller ParkNBCSports.com, May 27th
Selig marvels about the recreation of his office at County Stadium, complete with his old chair, a cluttered desk and the reliable rotary phone . . . [the exhibit] includes a multimedia show featuring a virtual Selig, a hologram-like technology that...Read more
Watch: This guy made a rotary phone into a modern mobileThe Next Web, May 27th
When developer Stavros Korokithakis was refused a landline in his new office by the phone company, he took that anger and put it to good (and ridiculous) use – turning an old rotary phone into a mobile handset. He says the whole project, which uses ...Read more
Vinyl records are like a rotary phone, passed over in a digital ageToledo Blade, May 2nd
As someone who has not purchased a record album since late 1986, I consider vinyl and the rotary phone to be one and the same: Both are tied to a former time and place, and when included in casual conversation deliver warm “remember when?” memories ...Read more
Antique telephone stolen from business in CollinsvilleMackay Daily Mercury, April 30th
BETWEEN March 17 and April 13 an unattended office has been entered in a business on Mill Street, Mount Coolon, Collinsville. An antique telephone with a hand piece has been stolen from the office. While no further description is available of the...Read more