A rotary cellular phone


Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/11/03/a-rotary-cellular-phone.html


I would call that a rotary cellular phone. Here is a cellular rotary phone:


Sadly, as the video shows, the dial sends out standard touch tones instead of pulses.

For maximum awesomeness, he should have hacked together his own private cell tower hooked up to a landline, so that turning the dial would actually perform old school pulse dialing.


Love that you still need a stylus :slight_smile:

Seriously though I think this is awesome!


I was surprised to discover that when I got FIOS, my dial telephone still works. So the fiber optic box in the basement IS programmed to recognize pulse dialing. While the case looks cool, I think that rather than a custom build, I would have tried to get the guts into an old lineman’s buttset with a dial.


sadly, it looks like Sparkfun has retired their Port-o-Rotary



It IS a wonderful thing. But a trick was missed. If brass and wood had been used instead of white metal and black plastic, it could have been a steampunk rotary cellphone. Then he’d have ten times as many people beating a path to his door. (Not that he necessarily wants a path beaten to his door, at all.)

THAT is NOT Steampunk!

I think I prefer to wait for something in bakelite.


Ah, bakelite - a PROPER material for telephonic devices! There’s still a working rotary dial model in this household, but sadly plastic, not bakelite.


Seeing that reminder of how long you had to wait for the higher digits before you could start on the next one makes me wonder how some phone order businesses survived.

“To order Soft Sounds of the Sixties Volume 8 call now: 1-800-905-9000. That’s 1-800–” “WHO’S GOT TIME FOR THAT?!?”


I BARELY remember a few places having rotery phones. I could finger dial one. And that long wait for 0 to get to the end of the thing.



Yes! When you had to dial a phone number with a lot of high numbers!


Oh, one of those new-fangled, modern 500 sets. In my old 302 the handset is bakelite but the base is still black-painted cast zinc.


Isn’t pulse-dialing required as a backup due to regulation or law?

Kind of like 911 on cellphones without plans, or battery back-up at the local switchboard?


For those who prefer to text.


I’m old enough to remember and be really annoyed with any phone numbers that had 9 or 0’s in them. Also I was able to dial by just hitting the hangup button really fast.

I must have been 14 before we got our first touch tone phone but had a dial kitchen phone.


FM radios are part of standard smartphones, but are typically not turned on in North America. There’s a movement to turn them on.


it’s also an FM radio!

Ah! A smart phone, then!


Doh, I didn’t even know this was something I could have bought! I’d seen the hacks, of course, but never an OTC device. And now I find out only after its gone…

I love the contradictions in the melding of electromechanical goodness with modern technology. Maybe a dial candle stick phone would be ideal…