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Talkin' 'bout talkin' on the phone. The way it is supposed to be!
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By Fran

14 thoughts on “The Telephone”
  1. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Omar Riverstone says:

    I like how you reminded us a cell phone is not a phone. I can really feel how distinctly different ones experience of the world was in a time when you could talk to anyone anywhere with ONE short purposeful verbal exchange with am infinitely helpful human being. The immense feeling of human accomplishment to be so truly humanly connected. Now it's all tiny shiny magic boxes and it all just happens without feeling viscerally connected and part of the process of bridging world connections. I dont feel now is better or worse but this gives me a sense of how lovely that human connection was and how truly sad people would have been to lose that connection.

  2. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars laserhawk64 says:

    35 years old, born in the mid-1980s, technically a Millennial I guess. I remember when I was the one being told to get off other folks lawns! Heh. Now I'm telling "back in my day" stories like a creaky old guy.

    I guess I am one now, at least to some. "Time hurries on/And the leaves that are green/Turn to brown" — how true you always have been, Sirs Simon and Garfunkel.

    I still remember the mustard yellow rotary phone that hung on the wall of my parents' dining room. Some variant of Western Electric Model 500, made by a copycat company doing business in the upper American South. Probably Southern Bell back then… eventually it was Sprint, and now it is CenturyLink — known well in these parts for being brazen fraudsters and not even trying to cover it up, really, they know what they do and they know they'll get away with it. /shrug I suppose somethin'll get them in the end — we all know the the word that starts with a "b" that's used to describe karma, after all, and many stories of why it's a well-earned description 😉 and besides — all things end.

    But, to me, that is a real phone, as are all rotary phones, in kind of the same sense that this 'candlestick' model is for Fran. I get it. When I was growing up, computers were very different. My first PC was a 386 box that ran Windows 3.1 — I still have it. It has nearly the same specs (the original motherboard, sadly, is long gone, victim of a Varta battery melting holes in its motherboard as they all-too-often do — Adrian Black of "Adrian's Digital Basement" here on YT does not preach about such old NiCd batteries for nothing!) and a few upgrades, although if I can ever trace down the original motherboard — a rare variant of a common board — I'll restore it to exact original as best I can. I have other old computers, too — a PSION Organizer II, the first commercially successful PDA and a full-on handheld 8bit computer, essentially as old as I am; a working Commodore 64 (if you have one that doesn't work, don't bin it or Pi it, go visit "Adrian's Digital Basement", his "repair-a-thon" videos are AMAZING resources on getting them working — you will need a basic knowledge of electronics, for which BigCliveDotCom's channel is very good at providing) and a few others of that era. It's a whole different world from the sorts of machines we have nowadays, even ones that don't fit in your pocket!

    …which really is what a smartphone is. It's a modern PSION, a handheld pocket PC. Sure, the PSION couldn't make phone calls and was a LOT less capable, but that was 1986. I suppose, back in roughly that era, if you took something like an Ampro LittleBoard, which strapped to the back of a 5.25" floppy drive, back in the day, and ran — well, depending on what version you had, either CP/M on a Z80, or MS-DOS on an 80186 (!!), a 286, or a 386 CPU, with a minimal system around it — and threw that in a box with whatever you could manage to attach and enough battery to run it all, along with some sort of video converter to a Sony Watchman and a handwired miniature keyboard, you could work up a wearable PC — and if you wired a serial or parallel-port modem between it and a Motorola DynaTAC you'd've had essentially the world's first "WWAN card" I guess.

    The PSION Organizer II came out in 1986… that was just a couple years after William Gibson first published "Neuromancer". "Blade Runner" — funny how I now have to say, the first one, heh! — had already been out for the length of a presidential term by then; it hit theaters in '82 — a year or so, arguably, after a more foundational cyberpunk movie, 1981's "Escape from New York". 1981 was also the year that IBM released their Model 5150 Personal Computer aka the IBM PC — the very first one. (Back then, what we now call "a PC" was typically simply called "a home computer" or "a home micro" — referring to the term 'microcomputer', referencing earlier 'minicomputers' which were the size, generally, of a row of five-drawer filing cabinets, and 'mainframes' which were entire rooms if not buildings!) The first edition of "Shadowrun" landed in 1989… "The Secret of Monkey Island", as a bit of a benchmark, dropped in 1990 and "MYST", the first one, came out for PC in 1994, a year after its initial release for the Macintosh platform.

    It don't matter no more where you flew that glider, Snake Plisskin… it's been a looong way from Manhattan.

  3. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Stephen Ferree says:

    We had a pair of the pedestal phones when I was a kid. They were black but they worked. We had them connected between the kitchen and the detached garage, mainly so mom could call dad and me in for dinner from the garage/workshop. Worked great with a 12 volt car battery for power. The mic was a carbon granule mic and the ear piece had a simple diaphragm with a coil and magnet. Good memories !!!

    P.S. I can recall using phones before they had dials. And my mom was a telephone switchboard operator during the WW2 era. “Number please”

  4. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Brian Andrews says:

    I have been fascinated with old telephones since I was a kid (in the 1970s-80s). I studied old TV shows and movies for old phones (also the kitchen appliances, furniture, old radios, TV sets, and automobiles which also interest me) and I have since collected most of the phone models I saw back then and wanted to own. Since I no longer have home phone service, my next project is to obtain the bluetooth gateway that will allow me to use the old phone via my cell phone and get all the old phones in working order again. Great video!

  5. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars BinaryBoyo says:

    Great CandleStick phone and restoration! Love the original ringing bells. Reminds of a Bogie/Bacall or other film noir movie! ✆

    You might want to get those Chicago calls from Mr Mumbles blocked though? 😁

    Thing is, I got here via TechMoan and had just mentioned Nixie tubes in a post re his recent HiPac video and then you have KGM Edgelit Digital Display/s on your post/channell! WTF! Spooky sh!t indeed!? 👻

    Looks like some kind of Supernatural Synchronicity or something else is at play here so guess I'm now in!! 😱 🤝 👍

  6. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars koo says:

    All you monkey riders, let your animals hop around senselessly, STOP! And listen to me:
    When you realize that you are obviously lost, the first thing you need to do is: STOP!
    While we talk shit all day, a child starves to death every five seconds. That makes 10,000 child murders per day, which go on our account.
    For a start, I suggest that you try to not waste your time by letting others annoy you and instead try to always be positive and radiate positivity.

    More to come…

  7. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars tym says:

    Lovely phone! I don't own one, but I was known to use an EE-8-B field telephone to take calls on my landline back in college. Someday I should get a candlestick phone, but I am starting to amass a lot of 1920s technology…two Atwater Kent radios and a GE Tungar battery charger…I'm runnin' out of room! 😉

  8. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Me MyName says:

    You mentioned direct dialing long distance. It was really annoying when shortly after direct dialing all across the country was finally implemented, the phone company was broken up. I returned from overseas just after that happened and tried to call my parents. It didn't work. An operator came on the line and asked what carrier I wanted. I had to play guessing games to make a long distance call rather than just dialing the number. Things have gone down hill after that. The phone company used to provide power for their equipment. This ensured that during a disaster that knocked out power, emergency communications would be accessible. Now the local power goes out, cell phone service is not available, voip service will be out (possible available if you pay extra to get the battery for a cable modem. Even then, the cable service will probably be out). Copper wire land line is not even available where I am living now.

  9. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Timothy Gage says:

    Great video Fran. I love that you share your interest in electronics with us all.

    Actually, the brass "candle stick" is called the subscriber set. The actual phone would have been in a wooden case that would have been mounted on the wall or on the side of a desk. The components in the black case you showed are what they've put in its place.

    The modern transformer-looking thing in the black case you showed is indeed a modern "network" component and is what handles sending/receiving the signal as well as the local loopback (so that you can hear your own voice in the earpiece).

    It's a common thing "restorers" to polish up the brass. However, that phone would have originally been nickel plated. When that subscriber set was originally manufactured, people didn't like the look of polish brass and would have thought it was odd to have it like that.

    Thanks again for all your videos 🙂

  10. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Jeremy Nasmith says:

    Operators were still needed for collect calls, maybe still are?
    I remember when I was a teenager when some younger kids didn't know how to dial a rotary phone and I had to go teach them. I felt old! It was in the late '80s, early '90s. I'm sure nowadays, young kids don't even recognize push button phones as phones at all, as they grew up with smartphones… Crazy.

  11. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Ted McFadden says:

    I was half expecting you to pull out a 90v oscillator to ring that bell. Neat you're able to use it as an actual telephone! I've never had a land line in my name. In 2001, when I was finally in a position to afford a phone, I went straight for cellular. Nationwide calling sans long distance was the major selling point. I'm still using that phone number though.

  12. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars John Długosz says:

    It would be cool to have one like that, meaning brass case and carbon elements and woven cord, that functions as a modern bluetooth headset. Picking it up when it's not ringing will activate the Siri/Google/Alexi/Cortana/Bixby mode, just like modern wireless headphones. So we've gone full circle and don't need a dial anymore, but the "operator" is a machine.

  13. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Cassius Seeley says:

    My mother used to work as a switchboard operator when she was very young, in Vermont, at a "larger" hotel, Hotel Vermont in Burlington, and for the phone company, AT&T, at a regional and local level, sometime in the early 1950s. I still have one of the local phone directories with hand written additions and corrections for the town in which we were both born. Very cool.

  14. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Tahoma says:

    I miss POTS (Plain old Telephone System). We used to use it to connect tape players/recorders together and share music ideas. Also, we used it to operate/control CB radios from remote. In ham radio, we used it for phone patches. The 80's were fun. On another note, a friend and I transferred an Atari Basic program via CB radio. We are likely the only ones to ever do so. It was 100% successful.

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