Relics of the Past: Rotary Telephones

Basic black rotary telephone is almost extinct today.

It has been years since I have seen a rotary telephone actually being used. Unlike the phones of today, the rotary telephones had to be dialed till touching the stop on each phone.

The touch phones of today are much faster and easier to use. Some numbers if they have been programmed into a phone can actually be called by touching one button.

The patent for the first rotary phone was filed in 1896. However it wouldn’t be used for the first time till 1919 when the Bell System began using rotary phones.

Forty-three years later in 1962 the first touch phone was introduced at the 1962 World’s Fair. It was the beginning of the end for the rotary phone.

I never thought operating a rotary phone was that complicated but there are videos like this one which go into detail on how to operate a rotary phone:

This lady demonstrates how to use a rotary phone properly.

1963 would bring the first commercially available touch phones signaling the end for the rotary dial phones which gradually have disappeared from the American scene.


Author: Andrew Godfrey

Retired from newspaper work after 38 years. Had served in the Army in Hawaii and Vietnam in the 60's. Am now retired and living in Sulphur, Louisiana.

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