Saturday, August 7, 2010


My Dad's Mom used to remind me in her dry/sarcastic way that "small things amuse small minds".  I'm going to have to disagree with that old cliche... some times it's the small things, or the simple things in life that can be pretty cool.

Some things that make me excited are admittedly odd.  I tend to see things in a different light than others.   One such thing is my obsession with using vintage technology (prior to the 1970's) in the everyday life of the twenty first century.  Combine this with my love of classic rotary phones and you have a nerd fest in progress.

Sharing a home with my parents, I also share the usage of our "landline".  Growing up, I would have never guessed that having a "house phone" would be considered optional -- but the wave of mobile phones has made the traditional land line telephones one option among many.  Personally, I do prefer the quality of calls made by land lines over cell phones... and appreciate the reliability and 911 tracking service that you can not get from digital and/or mobile phone service.  I'm also not a huge fan of using my cell phone for making long phone calls... especially when "out and about".  Seriously, do I need to be gabbing with someone while I'm grocery shopping at Wegmans??  If I hear one more person in the bathroom stall talking on their phone I may scream.  Leave me a voice mail.. I'll get back to you.

Cell phones are for Internet (when a computer is not available), texting, and quick phone calls when not at home.  Otherwise.. as my friends know.. I'm calling you from home.

Back to the telephone itself.  I am obsessed with vintage phones.. probably because I have always loved the story of how my grandparents first met.. and I also love the classic look, feel (many older phones are HEAVY) and sound of a classic phone... the zip of the dial and the sound of a real brass bell ringer that puts a cell ringtone to shame.  These workhorses of Ma Bell were built to do one job well.. and to do it for a life time.  I like to keep the tradition going.

Well.. some techno geek out there has helped to make it possible for young-fogeys like myself to keep our retro lifestyles alive.  Someone created a device that allows you to link any house phone to your cell phone via bluetooth!  When I read about it in an online forum I subscribe to, I hopped in the car, drove to Radioshak and bought this little gem.

For my birthday, my Mom bought me a Western Electric 500 telephone in mint green.... green has always been my favorite color.  It's been the phone next to my bed for a little over a month now, and I've loved using it.  While I make most my calls on it (my other living room phone being from the 1940s), my friends won't call me on the house phone.. since they never know who will answer.  It's easier for them to call me on the cell.. the little square that I detest holding up to me ear.  Now.. I have the best of both world. (and yes.. I stole the picture below from the Internet)

You pick up this 40+ year old phone and you will hear a dial tone.. and yes... the rotary dial will dial out (though you need the cell phone's key pad for * and #).  Best of all, when someone calls my cell, and it is linked to the rotary phone.. that great brass ringer goes off instead of hearing the pre-recorded "vintage telephone" ringtone I downloaded years ago.

See.. only I would be excited about this!

So yes, I found another way to preserve a piece of the past while making it relevant to the present.  I was worried about how well the quality would be since the device is a bluetooth after all (which are known for being sketchy)... but the sound quality is EXCELLENT.

Who's giddy with geekish excitement?  That would be me.

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