Saturday, December 9, 2023


What is it?

Have you figured out what’s behind the tube of ChapStick, or do you remember those handy little gadgets?

We’ll give you a hint:

Yep, it’s a vintage rotary phone dialer.

You’d insert the “ball” end of it into the hole for each letter/number and dial. It was probably to save fingernails or protect recent manicures. Maybe it just made dialing easier if someone’s hand was shaky or, like the phone company said, “Careful dialing means better service.” Were these precursors to stylus pens, used on touchscreens these days? Similar, but not quite.

Of course, there are probably those in our audience who wonder what that black thing with the curly cord on it at the top of the page is. But we won’t go there …

Thanks to Tom Hart for sending these photos to us, and challenging/jogging our memories.




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Baden Whitehead (@guest_97636)
3 years ago

Lest we not forget: the 27 foot cord so we could walk anywhere in the house…

D Haley (@guest_97434)
3 years ago

Oh the days of listening on someone s conversation as a kid. Hear that single ring and you knew someone was on the phone. Only had to dial 3 digits to call a friend’s house. Then 20 years later remember returning from Europe and having a cordless that you pulled the antenna out. And now 30 years later on a cell phone calling any and every where. Miss the old phone and one classic ring.

Jeb (@guest_97332)
3 years ago

Do not recall those instruments. We used a pen or pencil which was always next to the phone to take messages since we did not have Visual number recall. What comes to mind is lily Tomlin as an operator with pencils in her hair. One ringy dingy…

Mark K (@guest_97268)
3 years ago

I remember those phones. I grew up in a family of 8, plus 2 parents and my grandmother. We had a phone with a party line. Someone in our family seemed to be on the phone continuously as we got older. Ma Bell pleaded with my Mom to get a private line as they got many complaints from the other party in not being able to use the phone. Since it cost more for a private line, my Mom said no. Ma Bell finally gave us a private line at the cost of a party line! Those were the days.

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