The mystery of the magically self-twisting phone cord

Has it finally been elucidated?:slight_smile:

I’ve heard that you tend to pick up the phone with your right hand, then switch to the left to write something down, doodle, pick your nose…etc. Call over, you hang up the phone, having added one half turn to the cord. Repeat until cord is aess. Reverse process for lefties (like me).

That’s repeat until cord is a mess. Or ass, if you prefer.

If I put the phone on the right side of my desk, this happens. I pick it up with my right hand, put it to my right ear, slide it over to my left ear in order to write something down or use my mouse, then hang it back up again with a full twist to the cord.

If I put the phone on the left side of my desk, I pick it up with my left hand, leave it there, and set it back down with no twists.

So try moving the phone to the other side of your desk.

Ditto, except it clearly has to be a sum total of adding a full turn to the cord. Perhaps a quarter turn on picking the phone up and putting it to one ear, a half turn on moving it to the other ear, and another quarter turn on hanging it up.

I wish I could remember who it was that came up with this answer.

Wow - phones used to have chords ?

Rotary phones had no music at all, unless you count the clicks. Even Touch-Tone® phones could only play one note at a time, though there were quite a few books out with sheet music to popular songs that could be played on such phones. Modern cell phones have lots of music for ring tones, and even more can be purchased from the phone companies.

But the bottom line is that even in the 21st century, phones still play only one note at a time - no chords at all!

I’ve been cited for abuse of a homophone! I’m homophonic!

Good catch - I deserved that.

Sometimes, I swear to God, this thing seems to twist itself into a neat little bundle without my even touching it!:smiley: (Probably my imagination playing tricks on me). I’ve also heard that they have invented some gadget (which you presumably attach to the cord)preventing this tragedy from occurring in the first place, although I haven’t seen it.

Same phenomenon applies to the cord linking my headphones to my amplifier, by the way (yes, I do walk around the apartment quite a bit, but you should see the mess it makes after a while!:D…and this is a straight cord!)

I have never had this problem as I always make sure I untwist it before I hang up. Same thing with the handheld shower. I don’t understand why others have such a problem doing this.

A coiled cord stretches out over time and thru use. That tends to uncoil the cord. But since it’s ability to uncoil is limited, it expends the twist by twisting back on itself in the other direction.

People also sometimes play a roll: they stretch out the cord, sense the uncoiling, twist out the excess coiling, and then hang it back up, which releases the strain and puts the coiling back in. This time it should twist back on itself in the same direction as the original coiling.

Next week’s phone cord coiling column: How to get rid of those U-shaped kinks in the cord.

Actually, touch tone phones DO play chords - each tone was a combination of two frequencies - a dissonant combination I might add (deliberately - they didn’t want any harmonics).

Some background:

Office Depot sells a cord unraveler for $.99. You hook it into the handset and then hook the handset chord into it. It rotates 360 degrees so your chord is never out of whack again.

Unhook the cord from the headset, let it drop and hang freely. Hook it back up. Get in the habit of doing it whenever you see the cord double twisting.


$0.99 for an aggravation eliminator: I can live with that…:smiley:

Thanks all for your insightful comments.

I have to disagree with this. I was the IT monkey at an ofice with about 60 people and I saw a number of employees with these devices…

I have since gone into industrial design work and can say that the problem is this: the twisted phone cord doesn’t generate sufficient torque to turn the fitting. At least not emough to keep the damn thing straight.

What about my straight headphone cord (Radio Shack issue). You should see THAT puppy after a while: makes the twisted phone cord look like a walk in the park. You wouldn’t believe the knots I have to untangle! Same principle applies??