In junior kindergarten, our playhouse had one of these things set on the Corcan table covered in a plain cotton cloth next to the cot in the bedroom. It never rang, but the rotary dial telephone was heavy when we "called" our friends.

The Bakelite telephone's development commenced in 1927, after Bell Telephone offered $1,000 to ten designers to design a new telephone that would combine the speaker and mouthpiece within a handset. The one design specificaiton it carried called for it to be "rugged, durable, phenolic resin" or Bakelite.

Industrial designer Henry Dreyfuss was consulted, however his ideas were deemed impossible to work with as he wanted to work closely with Bell engineers to redesign the awkward prototype that had been developed for the project. After the other tendered designs were deemed unsuitable, Bell Telephone returned to Dreyfuss and he in turn he defined "phone" as we knew it until the onset of the digital era.

With Bakelite's rigidity and strength, users gained the freedom to change positions while using the phone. It allowed more privacy than an ear and mouthpiece set and two hands were not required to operate the set. A Bakelite phone can be dropped without shattering or cracking and its black colour made it stand out as a modern object in anyone's home. Its design made itself as an essential object in our day to day lives..

All I really remember about the phone is that it was heavy. We knew better than to swing the receiver around by its cord and we avoided those who did.