A Vintage Candlestick Telephone, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Yellow

Yellow is more than just a color. It can also be a greeting. I’ve called more than one friend who answered the phone, “Y’ello!”

I found this vintage candlestick telephone in my basement a few months ago.  It probably pre-dates “Y’ello”-

Vintage candlestick telephone

I’m not sure I have all the pieces of this telephone, but these were the basics. It looks so alive — like something Pixar could love. “Luxo Jr” might like to come over to play.

It’s originally from my father’s service station. It was his business phone in my early childhood, and was a relic even then. If you wanted to make a call, you picked up the receiver (or turned the crank? — it’s so long ago I’ve forgotten) and said something like “Hello Bernice, please connect me to the drugstore,” or perhaps the shorter, “Drugstore, please.”

The cabinet it once stood on is in my breakfast room now, holding dishes. It still has the little shelf he tacked onto the side to hold the phone.

Candlestick phone detail

Candlestick phone detail: long before phones evolved to be smart. Too bad it’s suffered some damage.

But back to Yellow. I can’t find any agreement on who first answered the phone with a color. Some say Homer Simpson, but I remember at least one friend who answered that way at least a decade before Homer was invented. Here’s one thing I did find:

On March 10 1876, Alexander Graham Bell made the now-famous first telephone call.  “Mr. Watson — come here — I want to see you,” he said. Too bad there’s no mention of whether Mr. Thomas Watson said, ‘Y’ello?’ when he picked up.

Tell me — how do you answer the phone?

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For more on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Yellow

and, a concession to the intended subject  —

My yellow pansies in the snow, Feb 2014

My yellow pansies in the snow, Feb 2014

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6 thoughts on “A Vintage Candlestick Telephone, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Yellow

  1. The treasures you discover when you are cleaning up and clearing out are amazing. We were cleaning my grandmother’s house and I found a vintage tabletop phone with a dial instead of touch tone buttons. But I would really like to have found this candlestick telephone – a true blast from the past!

    • I found some older touch-tone phones and donated them a while back, thinking they might still be useful somewhere if there’s anyone else left using landlines. (I probably should have looked for a museum) I’ll bet there’s at least one dial phone, or older, left in the basement. Time will tell — thanks for commenting!

  2. Our neighbors had the one with the box on the wall, and the mouthpiece attached to the front of the box, earpiece on the side, opposite the crank. You turned the crank to get the operator at the switchboard who would connect you to the line you wanted. Rings were unique to the phone since it was a party line. Their ring, for example, was 2 longs and a short. I thought their phone was so cool, unlike our plain, black dial-phone.

    • Our party line was my parent’s house, my grandma’s, and my father’s service station. I remember visiting friends in the country who had 10 or 12 homes on a party line, and there was no privacy, everybody listened. Funny, I didn’t think of that when people started worrying about present-day surveillance. Thanks for the comment, and for stirring my memory.

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