Spotlight Friday: Telephones

I wasn’t really aware of phones until the early 80’s. Growing up in Papua New Guinea, there where no phones. Communication happened through 2 way radio. I remember my Dad in his office, saying things like  “Hotel- Zulu- Foxtrot- Whiskey” and then a lot of statics so you could only hear half of what the other side was trying to say, at the end of their radio call it was “over and out”.

When I moved back, my Grandparents had a phone in their house, it was gray and   looked something like this telefon70er I don’t remember using it much. Usually my friends and I had made plans for our afternoon in School and we just met when we where done with our homework.

When my parents came back from PNG we had a phone that had  push buttons. I still had to ask every time if I could make a call. Every call you had to pay for so you always had to keep it short. modulo2dev_produkte_00003367_1_x220

frph( this picture was taken at a Guest house where I was trying to get a class reunion together)

Plus our phone was connected to my Dads office,so when he was on the line, none of us could make a phone call. So very often I ended up walking down the street to the phone booth to call my friends from there. With a pocket full of “Zehnerle” (10 cents). It looked something like this. But only one of them was at the corner of our street.


I never wanted to stay in there long because there was always this distinct smell in those phone booths, plus it could get pretty cold in there during the Winter time.  In my Adult life I did spend quite some time in  phone booths. I had moved away from my home town and didn’t have a phone in the place I stayed at.

The concept of the telephone dates back to the acoustic (non-electrical) string telephone or “lover’s telephone” that has been known for centuries, comprising two diaphragms connected by a taut string or wire. Sound waves are carried as mechanical vibrations along the string or wire from one diaphragm to the other. The classic example is the tin can telephone, a children’s toy made by connecting the two ends of a string to the bottoms of two metal cans, paper cups or similar items. The essential idea of this toy was that a diaphragm can collect voice sounds from the air, as in the ear, and a string or wire can transmit such collected voice sounds for reproduction at a distance. One precursor to the development of the electromagnetic telephone originated in 1833 when Carl Friedrich Gauß and Wilhelm Eduard Weber invented an electromagnetic device for the transmission of telegraphic signals in Göttingen, Germany, helping to create the fundamental basis for the technology that was later used in similar telecommunication devices. Gauß and Weber’s invention is purported to be the world’s first electromagnetic telegraph.

In 1840, American Charles Grafton Page passed an electric current through a coil of wire placed between the poles of a horseshoe magnet. He observed that connecting and disconnecting of the current caused a ringing sound in the magnet. He called this effect “galvanic music”.

Innocenzo Manzetti considered the idea of a telephone as early as 1844, and may have made one in 1864, as an enhancement to an automaton built by him in 1849

Charles Bourseul was a French telegraph engineer who proposed (but did not build) the first design of a make-and-break telephone in 1854. That is about the same time that Meucci later claimed to have created his first attempt at the telephone in Italy.

In 1860 Johann Philipp Reis was the first to produce a functioning electromagnetic device that could transmit musical notes, indistinct speech, and occasionally distinct speech by means of electric signals. Reis also introduced the term “telephon” for his device. The first sentence spoken on it was “Das Pferd frisst keinen Gurkensalat” (the horse doesn’t eat cucumber salad). In the Reis transmitter, a diaphragm was attached to a needle that pressed against a metal contact.

Alexander Graham Bell is commonly credited as the inventor of the first practical telephone. The classic story of him saying “Watson, come here! I want to see you!” is a well-known part of the history of the telephone. This showed that the telephone worked, but it was a short-range phone. Bell was the first to obtain a patent, in 1876, for an “apparatus for transmitting vocal or other sounds telegraphically”, after experimenting with many primitive sound transmitters and receivers.

The invention of the “telephone” is the culmination of work done by many individuals, the history of which involves a collection of claims and counterclaims. The development of the modern electrical telephone involved an array of lawsuits founded upon the patent claims of several individuals and numerous companies.  (source:wikipedia)


The first mobile phone call was made 43 years , on April 3, 1973, by Motorola employee Martin Cooper. Using a prototype of what would become theMotorola DynaTAC 8000x, the world’s first commercial cell phone, Cooper stood near a 900 MHz base station , in New York City and placed a call to the headquarters of Bell Labs in New Jersey.

It would take another decade to reach consumers and two more decades for cell phones to overtake land lines in worldwide usage. (

notable_phone_sizes_004-thumb-570x438-117805I still mostly use our landline phone. I do own a cell phone, but it usually lives in my bag. I use it for when I leave the house so I can be contacted in an emergency or if I have one. I don’t do much else but calling and maybe a picture here and there.  Oh and also a text here and there. But you will not find me walking down the road with my head stuck on my screen to see what is going on in the virtual world. My kids on the other hand, totally different story. They can’t go without these things.  That is their generation.  Well, now they are called Smartphones because they are so much more than just a phone. 


So here are some items you can find on Zibbet, just click on an item you like and you will get directed to the individual shop.

Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet
Vintage Oak Box Wall Phone 1900
by HooksNYarn

Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet
Vintage Shukran Card – Phone Caller
by acraftyarab

Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet
Crazy horse Leather iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus Wallet, Leather iPhone 6 Case by MihaiLeather

Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet
iPhone 6/6s Colored guitar Wood Engraved case by caseyard

Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet
Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Cone Waffle Cone, Phone Charm, Cute And Kawaii 😀
by aLilBitOfCute

Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet
iPhone Case (4 and 4s) – British Vintage Telephone Box
by SublimeImages

Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet
Vintage Soviet Union USSR Ship Disc Cabin Phone TAK-64 – rotary telephone
by ForCollecting

Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet
Crochet Bag Phone Holder Pouch Door or Car – Blue
by Bj’s Knits

Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet
iPhone Wallet – Smart phone case Handmade – Cameras – Phone holder wallet
by marillis


And also I found a lot of fun Telephone items on Etsy: (this link will take you to the treasury)



What ever way you make your phone calls, it is a nice tool to stay in contact with your friends and family.



10 thoughts on “Spotlight Friday: Telephones

  1. Very cool!
    We had a grey phone like that which was on the wall, later the red one, but as the rotary dial version. I’m such a dinosaur, I miss it. I know somebody who still uses hers. Mine was given away :-/


    1. I kind of miss it as well Cat. I liked when you rotary dialed, you had to wait till it was back in the original position and the sound it made when you dialed.


  2. This is so funny to think back to the nosy neighbors listening in on the “party line”, or how we were tied to one spot with no private conversation possible.


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