How to use a telephone


Originally published at:


Wait, if people didn’t even understand how to use their telephones’ most basic functions then how the heck were they supposed to watch an instructional YouTube video?


Reminded me of the olden days (mid-1960s) when we kids discovered we could make free local calls from pay phones by quickly tapping the hook the proper number of times (four taps for 4 , etc.).


It’s already outdated. Going the way of the fax machine.


As anyone old enough who had access to multiple phones discovered, the brrrrr sound tells you when the other phone is NOT ringing.


Ahoy-hoy. Klondike 1132 here.
Somebody else was on the party line, so I couldn’t see the moving pictures… Did they cover the proper way to answer a call?



Few people know this voice communication technology still exists in modern smartphones although you have to press a weird looking button to get to it.



First make sure it’s your ring (for example, mine is three longs). It’s rude to listen in on other parties’ calls.

Then if it’s collect, you have to accept the charges if you want to talk. Tip: if the call is from “John Wilson” it means I made it to Detroit okay and found work. Just refuse the charges.


New technology finds its way into pop culture:




“Instructional YouTube videos” were shown either at the penny arcades or as preceding featurettes before the “Main Entertainment Video” at nickelodeons.

Heck, people don’t understand their smartphones now, even with instructional YouTube videos.


“Hoy, hoy”, according to Alexander Graham Bell. I think.


People talk about their kids asking what it means to “hang up” a phone nowadays, but it occurs to me that I’m probably at the tail end of the group of people who have first hand knowledge of what it means to “dial” a number.



I remember the mild despair when seeing the number you had to dial was all 0s, 9s, and 8s. Took 4 EVA!



Imagine if the texting phone was invented before phones that make voice calls. The ability to hear a person’s real voice from across the globe would seem to be far more advanced & impressive than a portable telegraph (texting).


It was. Telegraphs used morse code.