How to Use the Rotary Dial Phone: A Primer from 1927

Most every piece of tech­nol­o­gy, no mat­ter how sim­ple, comes with a user man­u­al of some sort. Even the seem­ing­ly straight­for­ward rotary dial phone.

Although Alexan­der Gra­ham Bell patent­ed the first tele­phone in 1876, the first rotary dial phones did­n’t make their way into Amer­i­can homes until 1919. Then came the oblig­a­tory tuto­r­i­al. Cre­at­ed by AT&T in 1927 and orig­i­nal­ly shown in the­atres in Fres­no, Cal­i­for­nia, the silent film above breaks down the process of dial­ing a call–from using a phone direc­to­ry and find­ing a num­ber, to pick­ing up the receiv­er and lis­ten­ing for that steady hum­ming sound called the “dial tone,” to turn­ing and releas­ing the rotary dial mul­ti­ple times, and so on. This primer would car­ry Amer­i­cans through 1963 when the first push-but­ton phones start­ed to pop up. That advent of the push-but­ton phone also came with a video, of course.

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via the Pub­lic Domain Review

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Hear the Voice of Alexan­der Gra­ham Bell for the First Time in a Cen­tu­ry

How Vinyl Records Are Made: A Primer from 1956

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.