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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Keyless car ignitions called 'deadly' in lawsuit
13WMAZ, August 28th

WFMY 8:02 p.m. EDT August 28, 2015. CONNECTTWEETLINKEDINCOMMENTEMAILMORE. Technology is constantly evolving, constantly changing our everyday lives. 30 years ago, you had to use a rotary phone to place a call, now you have a smartphone ...Read more

With new chef, Fork & Wrench keeps its focus, creativity
Baltimore Sun, August 28th

On our way to the table, we passed a variety of no-longer-relevant pieces of technology, from a funky typewriter to a rotary phone. The kitchen still turns out well-conceived, seasonally driven dishes, but the selection has evolved. The chef behind...Read more

Review: Two Brothers Far From Home
Mission Local, August 28th

The Cartagenas collaborated on two works in the show: Llamada por cobrar (Call Collect), an old-fashioned rotary phone where you can listen to Dalton's “El Gran Despecho,” and on Remesas (Fishing Money) where you cast for piles of $100 bills on a ...Read more

Cain: Technology keeping us hopping
Herald & Review, August 28th

That rotary phone person might be willing to accept instruction on smartphone use from someone four or five decades their junior. The young people in my life accept instruction and counsel from me more readily than I ever did at their age. (Especially...Read more

Kate Winslet Says 'Steve Jobs' Is Really “About All of Us”; See a New Poster
/FILM, August 28th

Just because Steve Jobs is called Steve Jobs, doesn't mean it's just about Steve Jobs. In fact, star Kate Winslet says, it's “almost not about Steve Jobs at all.” Because really, “The film is about all of us.” She's speaking symbolically, of course...Read more

Never Played Shenmue? Watch Us Play The First 13 Hours
Game Informer, August 27th

In episode six, things get emotional and we spend way too much time dialing a rotary phone. Episode seven serves as a masterclass in how to play Shenmue, showcasing a perfect run without any glaring mistakes or missteps. In episode eight, we jam a ...Read more

How to Turn Your Cell Phone Into a Rotary Phone
Popular Mechanics, August 20th

Big Builds The World's 25 Most Impressive Megaprojects. Aug 20, 2015 @ 2:50 PM. New Technology · Phones · Computers · Bluetooth. How to Turn Your Cell Phone Into a Rotary Phone. This one simple life hack will make using your phone much, much ...Read more

Young players may have game, but do they know how to dial a rotary phone?
The Seattle Times, August 8th

Jay Cutler, the 32-year-old quarterback of the Chicago Bears, is having trouble connecting with today's young players. Sideline Chatter. What, you think it's easy playing alongside those NFL whippersnappers these days? “Kids have changed a lot since ...Read more