rotary dial

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rotary dial

A rotating number selector on early telephones (and TVs). Introduced in the early 1900s, rotary phones were commonly used from the 1920s until the 1960s, when dial phones were gradually replaced with push button phones (see Touch-Tone).


In the Antique Shop
As the caller manually rotated the spring-loaded dial clockwise, it was halted at the finger stop (red arrow). Letting go, the spring automatically reversed the rotation sending a stream of pulses to the telephone company central office (CO). The larger the digit, the more pulses, with 0 generating 10 pulses.
References in periodicals archive ?
We spent a day avidly cleaning and buffing the Bakelite phones with soft butter and a dust cloth.
There are four Bakelite phones, a '40s toaster, iron and fridge, and a wind-up gramophone.
There is also fine French porcelain, Chinese ceramics and other oriental ware, paintings, jewellery, clocks, English furniture of all periods, tribal clubs, swords, fishing rods, even a child's brass cot complete with horsehair mattress and an Edwardian telephone exchange with Bakelite phones and electric bells.
Bakelite phones,manufactured from the 1920s onwards, were the standard phone of the time.
Bedroom: I've got one of the original Bakelite phones which I had converted because they don't make them like that any more.