Phun with Phones!

What Makes a Telephone Work?What Makes a Telephone Work

That phone on the cover is the latest and greatest technology, according to the book. THERE ARE NO DIALS! Gasp! Touch Tone is the wave of the future! I am old enough to remember rotary phones, party lines, and only one area code for South Eastern Michigan. Also, in my former life I was a company phone operator and used an old fashioned cord board. I also think this looks old for 1970.  Again, I am sounding like a broken record here, but seriously, why on earth is this still in a youth nonfiction collection?  Please weed!

Fast forward from 1970 to 1993 and remember this title (Cool and Cordless)?  Already we should be thinking when books about smart phones should be weed-worthy.


Types of phones

Rotary dial

Future phones will have video




  1. My father didn’t buy anything new or improved unless the old one was broken. So, when all my friends had those fancy push buttons on their phones, we still had rotary! I remember a neighbor winning a radio show call in contest, because he could push the numbers in so quickly!
    We also had a black and white TV until it broke, no color just because it was available.
    My teenagers now laugh when they see the old “mobile” phones like their dad had installed in his truck. Hardly “mobile!”

  2. I love these old science books with their simple line drawings, in-depth explanations, and the assumption that every bit of technology is easy to use and 100% reliable. Of course, Windows hadn’t been invented yet, so maybe that last bit really was true.

  3. We had a rotary phone when I was a kid, in the ’90s. Eventually the phone company decided it needed replaced and we got a new one. I have no idea when we got it but probably in the ’80s, which seems VERY late for them to be giving people rotary phones (we got it through the phone company).

    About the last sentence on this, that no matter what, phones will still operate on the same principle…I’m no expert, but cell phones work a bit differently, don’t they? They mention not needing wires, so I’m not certain how much similarity they’re demanding. (But it’s sort of funny how they say that yet are still using wired phones for their video call.) I assume that would be more like cordless phones.

    Hey, should we tell them we progressed from hooking computers up to phones to using phones as computers?

  4. I’m pretty sure we didn’t really have push button phones in New Zealand until the late 80s/early 90s. My family had a bright red rotary phone (rather like the Batphone) up until the 90s. I remember watching American shows as a child being fascinated by push button phones. When the original V came out, I was entranced by the girl with the Visitor boyfriend talking to him on her cordless phone, because I’d never seen them before. (Ironically, I hate cordless phones now, because the sound’s terrible.)

  5. My Dad was still using a rotary phone well into the 1990’s. In 1996 he moved in with us and brought his old rotary with him. My then 8-year-old son had never seen one of these before and couldn’t figure out how it worked. When I showed him he said “So that’s why we say ‘dial’ the phone!”. He uses this phone today.

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