Now And Then: Phones


The rotary dial was added to phones in the 1920s, but were not commonly found in many households until the '30s. Desktop phones now had a square base with a handset that had the receiver at the top and the transmitter at the bottom. The rotary dial was round, with a hole over each number. The caller placed his finger in each corresponding hole and dialed it in a circle to enter each digit of the phone number.

True freedom of movement came in the 1990s, when household telephones advanced beyond the cord. Early cordless phones had large, bulky handsets with tall antennae. The handset contained a battery and charged when it rested on the cradle. Other innovations accompanied the cordless phone at the end of the 20th century, such as caller ID, enabling the caller to see the number dialing in, and call waiting, which helped eliminate the busy signal.


Phones now have touch screen, headphones and portable chargers. They also have things like tablets, laptops and I pods.