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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Review: San Andreas, May 28th

To be fair, as an earthquake educational video it's actually not bad (take cover under a table, find a rotary phone for communication), with Paul Giamatti's (doing his best Richard Dreyfuss impersonation) CalTech scientist offering plenty of good...Read more

Inside the studio with Mel Katz: 50 years into his career, Portland art ..., May 28th

Two hours and four cigarettes into the tour of Katz's studio, he pauses to think about his expectations for the upcoming shows. When a visitor expresses surprise that Katz hasn't given up smoking, he replies with a smile that he would still have a...Read more

This company's online games could get you hired
CNBC, May 28th

Major corporations can spend six figures on hiring, while the best applicant's resume could end up in the trash. Companies using data, analytics and even games, however, may be getting closer to finding the right fit for their firms in less time than...Read more

Pict Classic Theatre's 'Other Half Loves' mixes heartache, high humor
Tribune-Review, May 27th

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 Park, 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 mobile
The 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 age
Toledo 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 Collinsville
Mackay 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