Seriously, do it. I had a phone line installed in my flat recently and we were musing over what type of phone to get. I suggested that I could pilfer one from work since they have about 600 phones of varying quality and colour. We decided against it, seeing as it wasn't really worth getting fired over a piece of crap worth £10, we'll just go into some beige shop and get a run-of-the mill beige phone. "Leave it to me" my flatmate declared and promptly disappeared for two days.

Upon his return he told me went to visit his parents deep in the Bucks countryside. A truly dismal place by all accounts. He said the trip was pretty mundane but that he had a surprise for me. He went into his room and returned with a big, bold, fucking 1970's rotary phone that he'd found in his parents shed. Apparently it had been sitting in a suitcase, untouched, for about 15 years. It even had the old style area code on the round plasticky thing in the middle of the rotary dial. I was in heaven.

Would it work? Surely not after so many years in a dank, musty shed down the bottom of the garden. We wrenched the broadband from the socket having found something even cooler (is that possible?), and then hit the digits on my mobile phone. Those few seconds seemed like forever until suddenly the big old piece of junk burst into life like it had been asleep for 15 years and someone had woken it up by throwing a bucket of ice-cold water in its face. We immediately burst into hysterics, the ring was so loud, so uncouth, it rocked like nothing else.

Speed Dial? Forget it buddy, this is Snail Dial. No more "Press 1 for technical support". Why? Pulse dialling. This phone doesn't even know what the fuck a Tone is, let alone emit one or talk to other phone systems. It's communication at its most basic. When we answer it we always say "Scotland Yahhd" or "Hello, this is your Grandmother". Many laughs are also to be had by repeatedly pressing the buttons on the cradle whilst shouting "Hello? Operator? OPERATOR? Get me Lahndahn!"

So do it. Ditch your crappy speed dialin', tone generatin', call waitin' technoboxes and install one of these. You'll wonder how you ever survived without one.

We're now on the lookout for a telegraph.


kthejoker says: I don't know if this is worth mentioning, but you can buy standalone pulse-to-tone converters that attach between the wall and the phone. So you could have a rotary, but still be able to access "tech support" and whatnot.

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