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
Little Kids Aren't Impressed with Rotary PhonesTIME, March 7th
To these kids' credit, they all recognize that what they're looking at is a phone of some type. They don't, however, know it's called a rotary phone. Many of them don't know how to dial with it. Most of them have no concept of the busy signal. Some get...Read more
Kids' reactions to old-school rotary phone prove how past it we all areStuff.tv, March 6th
Several children, ranging from the ages of 5 to 13, were presented with an old fashioned rotary phone in controlled conditions - and their reactions were recorded for posterity's sake. As amusing as not recognising a dial tone is, the horror will start...Read more
Kids, this is a rotary phone: The 13 best reactionsHLNtv.com, March 5th
you were both home at the exact same time and is one of many charmingly baffled reactions included in a YouTube video called "Kids React to Rotary Phones." As of Wednesday, the video had been viewed So let's cut to the chase and attempt to...Read more
'What is that?' Children React to Rotary TelephonePatch.com, March 5th
Kids React to Rotary Phones on YouTube shows children learning what the device is, how it works and then takes on topics like long distance phone calls and busy signals to trying to figure out how to send a text message on the phone. From comments like ...Read more
'I wasn't born in the 40s,' Kids react to rotary phoneskfor.com, March 4th
For many people, rotary phones may be a symbolic item that takes you back to a simpler time. For children, it's a completely different story. The Fine Bros. have created a series called “Kids React to Technology.” A video, posted to YouTube, shows...Read more
Viral Video: Kids stumped by rotary phonesWQAD.com -- Quad Cities News & Weather from WQAD, March 4th
Dial tones, busy signals, payphones and long-distance are terms today's phone users aren't likely to use. If you remember them, or even still have one, rotary phones prove a little confusing to the kids of today. Watching them try to use a rotary phone...Read more
SEE IT: Kids struggle with using a rotary phoneNew York Daily News, March 4th
The Los Angeles-based Fine Brothers Productions produced video teaches kids about rotary phones and they learn such things as a dial tone and busy signal. Benny Fine told the Daily News via email they had been doing videos with kids for the past three ...Read more
Wakeup Call: Kids Today Have No Idea What a Rotary Phone IsYahoo Canada Shine On, March 4th
Floppy discs, walkmans, cassette tapes, CDs, and beepers are all considered museum-ready relics today. If that makes you feel old, wait till you watch "Kids React to the Rotary Phone," the latest viral video from Benny and Rafi Fine —the vloggers...Read more