First of all, the word. Hardly anyone says telephone now. Phone is the word. Anyway, I thought I would cover phones in this post. A friend gave me the idea – thanks, Lynn! I have touched on them in an earlier post when I talked about communication but this is to be solely on telephones.

We didn’t have a phone when I was very small. I remember the telegraph poles and wires being put up when we got our first phone. It would have been the mid 1950’s. It was SO exciting!

1950s-bakelite-md4.jpg       It looked like this one. The cables were cloth covered as all cables were in those days. There were letters and numbers on the dial. In areas where you could dial direct you dialled a three-letter prefix first, then the number. My brother, sister and I used to fantasise about inventing a phone with pictures so you could see who you were talking to – never thinking it would ever be possible. Now Skype and Face Time are household words.

Our first telephone number was 9. We called the village post office (number 1) to be put through to anywhere outside the village.When, a few years later, we were linked up to the town exchange we became 209. The switchboard in the village shop looked a bit like this one and is now in a museum.


Public phone boxes were well used and equipped with directories which were kept on the shelves which can be seen in the photograph. I never saw one then with broken windows or without the directories.


Our next style of telephone at home was one we considered very stylish as it was a more modern shape and was not in the original black but cream. The cable was plastic coated and spiral coiled.

cream phone

Here a few examples of the different phones I have lived with since then.

Moving beyond the 60s, my first house phone as an adult was a design known as a Trimphone. It was lightweight, streamlined and had a distinctive new ring. Amost a chirrup or trill rather than a ‘bring’.


early cordless.png An early cordless. How cool it seemed at the time to be able to walk around with your phone – and to have two or three in different rooms!

Motorola_DPC550 My first mobile phone! It lived in the car and I brought it in every few months to charge it. The battery alone was massive – it’s the hump on the back of the phone. Mine had no letters, just numbers, so it was pre-texting. It was for emergencies – car breakdowns etc. The weight and size of it meant carrying it around in a pocket or a handbag was not a good option. And yes, you had to pull the aerial out to use it. I recently sold it on Ebay for £30. Since then mobile phones have grown smaller and smaller and are now getting bigger again now that we are in the age of the smart phone – slimmer and lighter than my old Motorola, though!

6 thoughts on “Telephones.

  1. I love those old switchboards that are now in museums. Working as a toll operator (as we were called, before the days when people could call long distance themselves) I used them.

    Toll operators were well-paid, so it was good work if you were saving up for overseas travel. This was in the 1970s. City to city calls were routine, but I used to enjoy the connections through little country towns. When I said, “Good evening, XYZ (name of district), 123 (phone number) for Wellington, please,” the local operator could say, “Oh, you want Mrs Smith. She always gets fish and chips about this time of night on a Friday, so I’ll put you through to the shop.”

    Those were the days.

    The other great thing was that when a ship was in port one of the crew would ring the telephone exchange and invite us to a party on board. That sounds risky now, but back then it was innocent – a few drinks and dancing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. How lovely to hear your memories! When my mum rang a friend in the village Maud, the village postmistress, would put her through then stay on the line to join in the chat – a bit like your Mrs Smith story! Meryl


  3. I so remember and had all of the various that you’ve mentioned and showed. Remember when someone didn’t answer when you phoned, it wasn’t considered an emergency.. just that they either weren’t home or too busy, and we just called back.
    Now days, it causes such concern if someone doesn’t answer or respond in a timely manner. .. .Faster pace of life… Diane

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re so right! And if the home phone rang after 8.30/ 9 pm it shook fear into the household. Is somebody dead??!! Now we get emails and texts on our phones 24 hours a day!
      Still loving your A – Z. I look forward to seeing a new post when I wake up.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Trim stands for: Tone Ring Illuminator Model. The dial lit up in the dark. However in 1991 the Atomic Energy Authority were fined for accumulating radioactive waste, having collected several thousand Trimphone luminous dials in a skip! The dial contained a small amount of a mildly radioactive element; Tritium.


    Liked by 1 person

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