Rotary Telephones, Landlines, Phone Booths
Sunday, February 16, 2020
Can you recall having a rotary phone and a landline or ever stopping on the side of the road to us the phone booth to make a phone call. With the onset of cell phones, all of these nostalgic items are just part of history.
Although Bell developed a primitive version in 1950, it took until 1975 for push button phones to make an impact. Tone-enabled features like call waiting and three-way calling signaled the beginning of the end for the slow, clumsy, rotary dialing system, which had ruled since 1919.
If I could find a rotary phone today I would buy it because cell phones have to be charged and when there is no electricity you have no phone service.
Alexander Graham Bell revolutionized human communication when he made the first phone call to his assistant, Thomas Watson. The landline was born and it dominated for more than a century. The mobile era, however, signaled the end for the old-fashioned landline. In 2017, lawmakers in Illinois finally voted to allow AT&T to stop serving the state's 1.2 million remaining landline customers.
Before phones were pocket-sized supercomputers, people had to stop if they wanted to make calls on the go. The places they stopped to make those calls were called phone booths. Once a familiar sight, phone booths — like the landlines and phone books contained within — phone booths were dealt a mortal blow by the arrival of cell phones. Just 100,000 pay phones remain compared to 2 million in 1999.