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
Mend reimagines house calls for the smartphone ageSiliconANGLE (blog), July 1st
Sometime between the 1960s and the 1980s the house call all but disappeared in the U.S., and these days the idea of a doctor coming to your home might seem as quaint and outdated as beehive hair-dos and rotary telephones. But in an age of convenience ...Read more
Things to Do While Waiting for the FCC's TCPA LanguageInsideARM, June 30th
But on a rotary phone. And without a dialer. And let her know that this call is an attempt to collect some attention. But don't let her drag you into a conversation about your brother because it won't end well and it will go on FOREVER. 2) Read through...Read more
Michigan student: college sex culture damages studentsCampus Reform, June 30th
According to Weiss, in 2015 “girls on campuses around the country are feeling more like the Pink Ladies from Grease waiting by the rotary phone rather than rabble-rousing champions of sexual liberation.” “As a feminist, I ask: Is this the victory...Read more
Pounding on the gatesMilton Daily Standard, June 29th
Christian America is de-Christianizing at an accelerated rate never witnessed before. Twentieth century Christian nationalism has gone the way of the rotary telephone. With numbers like these prepare for even more church closings that will dot the...Read more
True Stories — Driving by 604 West HarrisPittsburg Morning Sun, June 29th
I also remember the fat, black rotary phone that sat on the counter in the kitchen next to the old, green and beige plastic AM radio that grandpa turned up loud in the mornings to listen to music and news. Nearby, a single kitchen chair where grandma...Read more
Antique collector gives phonographs a new turnEvansville Courier & Press, June 28th
photos by DENNY SIMMONS / COURIER & PRESS An Edison Home Phonograph — one of the many in Joe Powell's collection — is ready to crank out tunes using a cylinder of either the two-minute or four-minute variety. The gent in the straw hat was once a ...Read more
Melbourne Beach real estate agent creates security systemFlorida Today, June 28th
Safety check-ins and check-outs can be made using devices ranging in sophistication from a rotary phone to a smartphone or a laptop computer. In the event that a SaveZme user does not check out of his or her appointment, their emergency contacts are ...Read more
The New FCC Rule Could End Polling as We Know ItDaily Beast, June 25th
(One of the dissenting commissioners noted that the new rule could wind up prohibiting anything more advanced than a rotary phone.) We may hate polls, but going to volunteer for a candidate and encouraging your fellow citizens to get to the polls is a...Read more