Skip to content

Early Instructional Videos for Using a Rotary Phone

Early Instructional Videos for Using a Rotary Phone


This 7-minute-long film, circa 1927, announced that “dial telephones will be placed in service at Midnight—Saturday, May 28th.” It likely referred to Western Electric’s Model 102, which was the first widely distributed telephone set, and stressed not using the new blue directory until midnight on May 28. (Seriously, don’t do it until then!)


There’s no date on this film, but it was apparently shown in movie theaters. It helpfully provides examples for the audience of what the dial tone, ringing, and busy signal sound like.


This video, from the ’50s, gives users tips for how to use a rotary phone without making mistakes, which, according to the helpful woman from “your telephone company,” both “waste and lot of time” and “can cause someone else to be inconvenienced and probably irritated.” Tips include: Make sure you have the right number (and use your directory to make doubly sure); write that number down, which saves time; bring your finger around until it firmly touches the finger stop, and then let go; let the dial go back by itself; and know the difference between O and 0. She uses a huge demonstration model to show the audience how it’s done.”



Posted on: May 26, 2014, 6:54 am Category: Uncategorized

0 Responses

Stay in touch with the conversation, subscribe to the RSS feed for comments on this post.