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

Source: Google News

SCHANEMAN: Basketball at Metcalf's was part of growing up for many ...
Scottsbluff Star Herald, January 29th

In her garage (which was almost always unlocked), there was a rotary telephone she let us use to call friends or our parents for a ride home, a cardboard box full of basketballs and a fridge fully stocked with soda and snacks. If you didn't have change...Read more

Young Adults Deserve a Foot Up … Regardless of Abilities
City Watch, January 29th

There is a sweet anecdote I heard about one of the pupils: This young man banked all his earnings over the years (never spending a cent on himself) but when he left for Utah, he purchased an old-fashioned dial/rotary telephone for his class in...Read more

Theatre Review: The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence
Capital Public Radio News, January 29th

As the lights go down, and this play begins, there's a sound cue foretelling things to come – a series of telephone rings. The first ring is from an antique phone with a crank, the last one's from a smartphone. That puckish ten-second sound statement...Read more

Tupperware's Chairman and CEO Insists 'This Is Not Your Mom's Tupperware'
TheStreet.com, January 29th

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The Tupperware Brands (TUP - Get Report) of today is not the same as the one from the 1950s, when stay-at-home moms hawked plastic bowls and sipped on alcohol at the parties they arranged by rotary telephone. New-school ...Read more

US tries to convict Jeffrey Sterling for retroactively classified documents ...
Boing Boing, January 21st

MacMahon then revealed that the documents explained how to use rotary phones when a CIA officer is out of the office. I believe the prosecution objected — so jurors can't use MacMahon's description in their consideration of how badly these documents ...Read more

Regulations Meant for the Rotary Phone Still Govern the Internet
Nextgov, January 15th

(If you are fortunate enough not to be too deeply mired in the details of this debate, Title II refers to the rules congress drafted decades ago to govern rotary phones.) What changed on the road to Vegas to cause Wheeler's U-turn? The 11th hour...Read more

COLUMN: When the rotary phone was high tech
Crow River Media, January 12th

When I use my personal mobile device to FaceTime with my grandchildren 1,000 or two miles away, I can't help but remember my growing-up years with the black rotary phone on the kitchen wall at the farm. When I was little, our phone number was Ulrick ...Read more

BT volunteers and vintage phones help improve museum's image
BT.com, December 31st

BT volunteers and vintage phones help improve museum's image. A famous museum is now better connected to the past thanks to volunteers from BT. 9. Share this. Facebook; Twitter; Google plus; Email; Share ? More old phones improve museum's image...Read more