Friday, 18 March 2016

When dialling a number meant just that, Graham's uncle's phone from 1968

In an age of mobile phones which can pretty much do everything you want this picture of a 1968 GPO standard issue household set brings back memories.

We have one here in our home and like the one in Graham’s picture it comes in one colour.

There were other colours, I remember ours in Well Hall Road was grey and the swanky people behind us had a white one.

There is something very reassuring about using a dial instead of buttons, and I only wish ours still worked.

But it was damaged long ago and now will only slowly complete its return half circle from the last number dialled.

Its successor the trimphone now looks less elegant and even more dated.  Ours was put in sometime around 1969, and I can’t say it was a success.

As I remember it was too light and had a tendency slide across the table when you were dialling and worse still could fall off the table as you moved around using it.

But at the time it came to represent all that was new and shinny and by the time ours arrived the GPO had become Post Office Telecommunications.

A decade or so later and I had my first push button set which was exactly like the one above but with of course a set of buttons, and finished in handsome grey.

Over the years new phones have come and gone including the revolutionary one which displayed the caller’s number.

More recently there has been a bewildering selection of cordless phones which we have bought and temporarily lost down the back of armchairs or on one memorable occasion in a pair of jeans.

So I am rather fond of the old sturdy dial a friend phones.  Graham assures me that the one installed in his uncle’s house in 1968 still works perfectly, “but no use if you call an answering machine” which I suspect is no bad thing.

Pictures; 1968 which I rather think is a GPO Telephone 711, courtesy of Graham Gill and the 1969 GPO 1/722F MOD Grey & Green Rotary Dial Trimphone Telephone by Diamondmagna

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