I’d wanted an old-school telephone in the house for a while. We don’t actually have landline service, so for aesthetics we’d had to remove all the ugly little phone jack boxes from various areas of the home. I wanted a wall-hung version, not the tabletop candlestick variety. As this wasn’t a basic need (like a bed), I’d just poke around on Craigslist every few weeks.
One weekend, for work, I found myself traveling over 2 hours away from Los Angeles. I thought I’d check to see if any people had the phones in the destination area or on the way. Widening my search yielded some great results- phones that were $35-50, rather than the in-town $150-300! I got someone to accept an offer for $25, since the crank and a small piece of wood seemed to be missing from the phone. And then… I saw an even more amazing piece, also offered quite cheaply, but totally complete and with a maker’s tag that says “Fisk-Newhall, Chicago U.S.A.” SOLD!
The drive to pick up the phone was not even close to the direction of our travel, so we chose to pick the item up the following day instead. I’m so happy we went for this item, as it turns out it’s a family heirloom for the people from whom we purchased it! I hope they know it’s in a perfect home for it now.
The antique wooden telephone is missing some of the innards that would make it work, but it does include a catalogue where we could have gotten those parts 100 years ago! Incredible. We’ve left it open so that friends and visitors can look inside if they’re curious. I imagine that the dining room area, the center of the home, would be where the phone would have originally been. I imagine people huddled around the telephone together on party lines trying to get through, connecting to the operator and saying things like “Susquehana 2222” to dial (yes, that’s a 3 Stooges reference).
I used this chart as a basic reference for trying to figure out which type of phone would be best for the home.