It’s hard to remember a time when telephones didn’t exist, but this hilarious etiquette booklet from 1951 reminds us that there was a time when they needed an instruction manual. Published by Bell Telephone System, The Telephone and How We Use It was intended as a beginner’s guide on all things telephone. Funnily enough, there’s still some good advice to remember even in our digital age.
From reminding us why we use the telephone to a look at then common types of phones, the booklet is a reminder of a bygone era. The pamphlet mainly focuses on the rotary phone, which was rendered largely obsolete by the 1980s. Not sure which way the hold the receiver? The manual has got you covered. Want to know proper etiquette when taking a message? The booklet lists multiple scenarios.
“When you telephone, the other person cannot see you. He judges you by your voice.” In comparison with our increasing reliance on text messages, emoticons, and gifs to express our feelings, this warning is a reminder of how our methods of communication have changed.
Scroll on for more pages from the booklet, which will either conjure up nostalgia or leave you perplexed about the complexities of rotary phone etiquette past.
Pages from this old telephone “how to” booklet are a window to the past.
h/t: [vintage everyday]