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 ?
FROM THIS: One of the old bakelite telephones TO THIS: A selection of today's mobiles THE WAY WE WERE: The Middlesbrough telephone managers office staff in 1955, above, and staff at work in the exchange, above left
This was before the days of computers, when Bakelite telephones buzzed with shouted reports from press boxes at floodlight-free football stadiums throughout the region, typewriters clattered in newsrooms, and hot metal splashed in composing rooms, when reports were dashed hither and thither by young lads and doddery old men When I had a minor operation a few years back I had a useful pep talk from a consultant anaesthetist while I lay on my back watching a large screen on the ceiling where dolphins cavorted.
QI'VE had two old Bakelite telephones for a long time, but I want to sell them.