The Telephone -- Old School

With all the new technology, I love, and being an oldie, I can remember things that have really changed over my life. One of them being the telephone

Remember when you wanted to call someone cross country and you had to wait till after 8pm or better yet even cheaper, all day Saturday and till 8pm on Sunday (I think those were the times), to call as the rates were SO MUCH cheaper.

I remember a phone call then was only 10¢/minute to over a dollar a minute for regular rates.

Remember when you couldn’t leave and go somewhere 'cause you had to wait by the phone in case he/she called. Which of course never happened :slight_smile:

Remember when the phone was attached to the wall so you couldn’t stay on it forever because it was too uncomfortable.

Remember when the receiver on your phone was SO heavy you could easily knock out a burgler with it.

Remember when you had to have the emergency number for the police, fire and ambulance posted near the phone as they were all different numbers, and seven digits yet.

Remember when you used “codes” to cheat the phone company, by placing fake person-to-person calls and collect calls.

Of course those times have LONG since gone and maybe for the better. After all the telephone of my examples, pretty much killed off writing of personal letters, so I guess, what goes around comes around.

So any other fun things you remember from the “Telephone”

And finally from Lily “Ernestine” Tomlin

My cellphone is set to the classic old-school desktop “bell” ringtone.

I miss rotary dials.

If they made a cell phone with a rotary dial, and I don’t mean some silly cartoon app, I would buy one.

I remember that when someone called, and you weren’t home, you missed the call! And before answering machines, if they really needed to speak to you, they had to call you back! Weeded out a lot of crap.

As long as he wasn’t too far from the wall!

I remember my dad dialing the rotary phone with so much force that it was in danger of being ripped off the wall. And the sound of a good rotary at that speed sounds like the TNT detonator plunger sound from movies and cartoons.

I can remember making crank phone calls back in the days before caller ID or even *70.

I remember sitting in the bathroom for hours on end because that is as far as the cord would reach.

I can remember listening in on the extension.

When we finally got a second line, it was listed in the phone book under my parents entry as “Teenager’s line” ( or something like that ). I can’t tell you how many random phone calls I would get and how many of them I ended up talking to the person on the other end for hours with without ever knowing their name of talking to them ever again.

Phone used to be phun. Now my blood pressure skyrockets everytime my cell rings

Perhaps the worst part.

You had no idea who was calling. You’ better rush to answer it before they hung up because if you missed it you had no idea who had just called. Even worse than that, when you did answer you had no idea if it was your best friend calling to see if you wanted to go fishing or your boss wanting you to work this weekend.

Yous answered yous phone and yous took yous chances back then.

I remember my mother in the early 1980s talking about the “coming age of cellular phones” (She worked for one of the Ma Bell business units). She told me people were soon going to be carrying around their own private phone and line, wirelessly.

I remember being amazed that anyone would want that.

And they worked during a power outage. Now, if the outage lasts very long, it will take out cell coverage as well. The tower batteries only last so long. Not to mention that most people have cordless handsets at home, which become useless when power is cut to the base unit.

Yeah, thanks. I’m just old enough that I now have the phrase “one ringy dingy” stuck in my head.

If you are too young to understand where “one ringy dingy” comes from, GET OFF MY LAWN!

You bet your bippy!

Remember the coiled cables that connected the handset to the base? And how one section of the coil would somehow be reversed? And how you’d try to undo the reverse, but it never quite came out right?

Wait, that wasn’t the past. My work phone is still like that.

I recall using a hand crank phone at my grandparent’s cottage. It was on a party line, so you answered or did not answer based on the number of rings.

My favourite way of saying the world and technology has changed is to imagine saying to someone in 1981 “wait a minute, I have to take my phone out of my pocket, take a picture and sent it to my brother who’s on a mountain in BC”

I say that would get you a trip to the psych hospital and some medications… except you would have to wait about 15 or 20 years for the good ones to be available.

Verrrry eeenterestink!

When we moved to a small northern Ontario community in the late 1970s we had to wait a while to get a telephone, because getting a private line not a party line was a big deal. My dad worked for the government, so we had to have a private line. Oddly, we had a party line in for the first few weeks, the phone would ring and ring and never be for us.

Also memorable about the phones in that house, was that my mother made me stay home from school the day the phone guy was coming over. There was pornographic wall paper in the upstairs bedroom and my mother didn’t want to be alone with my toddler brother when the guy came over and had to go into the master bedroom. :eek:


Is this the party to whom I am speaking?

I recall when phone numbers were like GRAnite-3277 (that was ours) and then changed to GR2-3277 (exactly the same) while GR4 and GR6 were introduced. I can remember when most long distance calls cost $3 for 3 minutes (minimum) and there were no cheap times. I can remember when we had no extensions and even one cost a fair bit extra. Now I have, let me see, one phone in the basement, four plus a separate answering machine on the ground floor and four upstairs, one of which is also a fax machine. One phone on each floor is attached to the wall and works during power failures. And the one upstairs is a real old-fashioned dial phone.

I remember phones without dials. The town next to ours had operators place calls up until the 1960s. Their phones looked like the usual phone of the 50s, only it was smooth where the dial would be. People there would pick up the phone and give a number. Some were even three digits. Calling in, you’d call the operator and she’d connect you.

We had a system where if one of us went out for the night, we would call home and let the phone ring once. That was our “I arrived safely” signal.

Did you ever unscrew the speaker/microphone covers from the old rotary phone handset just to see what was in there? Of course you did. :slight_smile: