Video Wonder: How to Use Those Newfangled Dial Telephones - Atlas Obscura
Join us on an Atlas Obscura Trip in 2019 »

Video Wonder: How to Use Those Newfangled Dial Telephones

Do you remember using a dial telephone? Have you ever used one? 

Either way, you could probably benefit from a refresher. Luckily, this young lady has us covered. Watch as she seamlessly demonstrates the new device in this 1936 televised “Introduction to the Dial Telephone” from AT&T’s archives. The video, featured on local news broadcasts, was intended to help citizens transition to the high-tech rotary dial, a step up from more laborious dial systems, and, before that, the operator system.

The male narrator suggests that you make sure to first look up the number in your new directory. The girl then ensures that we know what the dial tone, ringing signal, and busy signal sound like. If you were born before the dawn of the third millennium, that busy tone probably still brings back bitter memories.

Every day we track down a Video Wonder: an audiovisual offering that delights, inspires, and entertains. Have you encountered a video we should feature? Email ella@atlasobscura.com.