Prior to the invention of electromagnetic telephones, there were mechanical devices used to transmit spoken words over great distances. Early devices were based on sound transmission via pipes or other physical media. The telephone came to be after the creation and successive improvement of the electrical telegraph. In 1804 Catalan polymath and scientist Francisco Salvá i Campillo designed an electrochemical telegraph. An electromagnetic telegraph was designed by Baron Schilling in 1832. Carl Friedrich Gauß along with Wilhelm Weber made another one in 1833 in Göttingen. Credit for the invention of the electric telephone is still disputed. Charles Bourseul, Antonio Meucci, Johann Philipp Reis, Alexander Graham Bell, and Elisha Gray, amongst others, have been credited this world-changing invention. If you’re a fan of good-old-fashioned vintage phones, here’s a list of ten of the most superb communication devices to decorate your house with.
10. 1890’s Telephones
If you’ve ever dreamed of having a model from the early days of the telephone, it’s not difficult to own one at an affordable price. This is because few companies have produced replicas of this type of phone, featuring present technology. This is a “Eiffel Tower” 1892 reproduction by Paramount.
9. The Candlestick Telephone
Although they’re long extinct, the so-called “candlestick” telephones are easily to recognize, due to their appearances in old movies and pictures. A few companies have reproduced these odd looking phones. For a really basic candlestick, two models are found on Crosley – the Crosley Candlestick Phone CR64 in Brushed Chrome and the Crosley Candlestick Phone in Black. Two more models, for decorative purposes, are the Golden Eagle Candlestick and the Paramount Roman Column 1897 Reproduction.
8. Crosley Kettle Classic Desk Phone
As we move on with our list of superb vintage phones, the stylish and early version of the rotary phone is represented by the Crosley Kettle Classic Desk Phone. An improved version that has been reproduced is the Crosley 302 Desk Phone, a replica of a 1937 model designed by Dreyfuss. However, the dial doesn’t function as a regular rotary phone, it’s a push button.
7. 1950’s Phones
The styles of rotary phones quickly evolved, and later Dreyfuss created a rotary phone with a sleeker design than the previous versions – the Western Electric 500. The phone first appeared with 1994’s “Basic Bell black”, and was later reintroduced in a wide variety of shades, and became the most used rotary phone for decades to come.
6. Touchtone Phones
Rotary’s phones supremacy ended in the 1980’s when touch button phones were finally introduced as the standard. Touch tones still exist today, but the earlier ones had a very distinct look that is unmistakeably for the 60’s and 70’s. You can find an absolutely superb Cortelco Single Line Desk Telephone, which will bring back memories for those of us who are old enough to remember them.
5. Crosley CR92 Country Wall Phone II
As our list comes down to our number one choice, the Crosley CR92 Country Wall Phone II is a charming reproduction of a wooden wall phone from the 1920s. The phone’s classic look and weird shape with metal eyes is stunning, in addition to the crank that turns.
4. Crosley 302 Wall Phone
Henry Dreyfuss, who designed the aforementioned rotary phones, also designed wall phones. True to Crosley’s fashion, it also has additionally colored versions of this phone for color coordination – one that came with a fiery red color, and the other coated in shiny chrome.
3. The “3-coin slot” Phone
For just five cents, one could make a phone call regardless of his or hers location – a restaurant, hotel, airport, or pharmacy. The most famous model was the “3 coin slot” pay phone, which was introduced in the 1950’s. This phone had 3 slots for customers to drop their coins into – the first was for the quarter, the second for a dime, and the third for a nickel.
2. Coffee Mill
The original decoration model of this piece was manufactured solely in Sweden in 1893, and had been produced in a very limited number. Due to its unique design and shape, it was nicknamed by collectors the Biscuit Barrel or the Coffee Mill. The phone features high-quality metal cast, a classic felted handset cord, push button tone dialing, and much more.
1. Crosley’s Sultan Phone
Our list of vintage phones ends with Crosley’s Sultan Phone. This classic recreation of a 1920’s style Turkish phone mixes European design with American ingenuity. Constructed of solid hardwoods and veneers, the Sultan Phone features a hand polished cherry finish, nickel chrome plates, and a 44″ cloth cord.
Which of these superb phones is your favorite?