All About Vintage Telephones - What's the Hype? — The Handmade Store Skip to content
All About Vintage Telephones - What's the Hype? - The Handmade Store

All About Vintage Telephones - What's the Hype?

The telephone is undoubtedly one of the best inventions in the world. Though almost all of us use smartphones these days, vintage telephones are still high in demand because of their quaint look with a rotary dial. People use them for calling as well as decorating their homes.

Are you planning to buy a vintage telephone? You are at the right place as here you will get to know all about it and the hype surrounding it.

Let's dive in.

Why Do People Love Decorating Their Homes With Vintage Telephones?

With the advent of the internet, mobile phones, and then smartphones, a huge portion of the world population doesn't feel the need of having a fixed phone at home.

Still, many families have kept vintage phones in their homes for decades to connect with others immediately. You can find them in a variety of designs, shapes, and sizes. Many homeowners even love decorating their rooms with vintage telephones today. Wondering why?

Find the key reasons below:

Classic Look

Vintage telephones, which are available these days, tend to look similar to the phones people used in the early 20th Century. They look quaint and exquisite with a rotary dial. Only the well-to-do homeowners could afford to have them a century ago.


If you buy a fixed telephone today, you can get one without wires. You can find wireless vintage telephones in a wide range of sizes and shapes, from the most simple to the most detailed.


If you want to add color and vibrancy to your drawing room, vintage telephones can be a great addition. They are available in different bright colors, such as yellow, green, red, and blue.


Due to the availability of a diverse collection of vintage telephones, you can find vintage telephones suited to your home decor. Most of the phones have a theme or a certain shape.

For instance, you can buy and add a phone to any of your rooms, which is shaped like a hamburger, love heart, shoe, big lips, or Rolling Stones mouth.

The vintage phone you buy should depend on the decoration style you want to create. You may want an elegant or quirky phone style. Make sure you choose a phone, which attracts all eyes and enhances the overall appeal of your room.

How Did Antique Telephones Work?

An antique telephone is not only a device to make and receive calls but an entire system. Before buying one, you should know how it works.

When it comes to handsets, they have a loudspeaker at the top (to press against the ear) and a microphone at the bottom (to put close to the mouth). Two pairs of copper wires come out of the handset. One pair is an input, which takes incoming signals from the system to the loudspeaker. Another pair is an output, which takes outgoing electrical signals from the microphone to the telephone system.

The microphone and loudspeaker work in the same but opposite manner. The microphone has a flexible piece of plastic, known as a diaphragm, with an attached iron coil and nearby magnet. Once you talk into the mouthpiece, your voice's sound energy vintage the diaphragm, which moves the coil closer to or far from the magnet. The movement creates an electric current in the coil, which corresponds to your voice sound.

When you talk loud, it generates a high level of current. When you talk softly, the amount of current generated is smaller. A microphone is an energy converting instrument, which converts your voice's sound energy into electrical energy.

A transducer is a device, which converts energy from one form to another. The loudspeaker in a vintage phone works in a contrasting way. It uses magnetism to convert the incoming electrical current energy into sound that you can hear. The microphone and loudspeaker look the same in some telephones but are wired up in totally different ways.

Tips on Adding Antique Telephones as Part of Your Decor

Homeowners tend to add antique telephones to their hallways, living rooms, bedrooms, and study rooms. You will find them hardly in bathrooms and almost not in kitchens.

So how should you use a vintage telephone as a part of your decor? Find out below depending on the different areas in your home:


Antique Phone Decor Ideas

Position your antique telephone on a table or wall of your hallway. Just ensure you don't place them in the way. Before keeping your telephone in the hallway, you should make sure it is sufficiently wide.

Living Room

Home Decor Antique Telephones

Place your telephone on a side table or tuck it away in a corner of your living room. You should not place it in the center of your living room.


Placing a vintage telephone on the nightstand is an excellent way to enhance your bedroom. You can also add it to the front of drawers or other low pieces of furniture.

Study or Office Room

Vintage Rotary Phones Decor

A fixed telephone is an essential addition to your study or office room. This device can genuinely help if you study or work every day. As a study room is generally a somber place, you should choose a classic telephone rather than a fun design.

How to Clean a Vintage Telephone?

Clean Vintage Telephone Tips

To maintain and increase the longevity of your vintage telephone, you should clean it thoroughly. Well, there are no hard and fast rules that you should follow to clean your telephone. However, using the perfect soaps and solvents is crucial to clean all its parts to get the desired results.

It is advisable to follow the tips below to clean your vintage telephone:

  • If you have a plastic telephone, soak the components in a warm sudsy containing a light liquid dishwashing detergent of any brand. The water temperature should be very warm but not extremely hot.

  • Apply Simichrome polish on the brass and metal parts, gongs, unpainted exteriors, and screw heads. You can also use Brasso but may not be happy with the results because of the change in their formula recently.

  • If you want an all-purpose cleaner, pick acetone and rubbing alcohol. As the Zep Citrus cleaner is quite concentrated, you can dilute it using water on a spray bottle. Then, use the diluted cleaner to clean the cords, base interior, and bottom of your vintage telephone. Make sure you don't rub on the painted model and the date mentioned on the bottom, otherwise it will rub away.

  • Novus 2 can be a perfect cleaner for Bakelite and plastic. Non-lubricating electrical contact cleaner is another product, which you can use to spray the dial gears. Though, it's expensive but worth the high price because of the way it helps in removing old grease and gum from axles and gears.

  • Apply a foamy suede cleaner on the leather feet. Ensure the cleaning product suits suede as all leather cleaners are not good for the purpose. To clean the brass gongs, pick normal household vinegar.

  • Besides following the normal precautions to use Acetone, you should be careful when using acetone or Simichrome on the painted surfaces so the paint doesn't get removed.

Where to Get Antique Telephones That Work?

You can find a wide variety of antique telephones in The Handmade Store. Beware of the fake vintage phones available in the marketplace. Some old telephones, which use pulse dialing, no longer work on certain digital exchanges. Although such telephones accept incoming calls, they don't always dial outgoing calls.

Nowadays, you can easily find antique telephones that look excellent and sound awesome when they ring. But the microphone and loudspeaker are noticeably cruder than those in newer phones. You will find it difficult to use such devices for long because of the unpleasant ringing sound.

So, browse the collections and check their features before picking the right telephone. Hopefully, this post helped you in learning all you needed to know about vintage telephones. Now, it's time for you to make a purchas

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Author Bio

Seo Singh, AKA Karan Singh, is a Podcaster, Content Marketer, and SEO Consultant with 10+ years of experience. He is also an expert in Leather, Vintage Home Decor and owns various e-commerce stores in such sectors.

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