Smartphones have spoiled us all. We can simply tap on the phone app and put in a number or just select a phone number from an email or list and our phone will do the dialing for us. However, before smartphones, we had landline phones and before those had push buttons, phones had a rotary dial. It’s hard to think that at one time, rotary dial phones were new and exciting technology. Before rotary dialing, when you picked up the phone you had to tell the operator the number you wanted to call and then the operator would put your call through manually and the phone on the other end would ring. There were a couple of different phone systems to accomplish this but as the Bell system took over, most of those were standardized. Interesting anecdote, Almon Strowger invented a phone switching system because his local competitor’s wife was the central phone operator. Strowger was an undertaker and when someone would call the operator looking for an undertaker she would simply tell the caller that his line was busy and route the person to her husband instead. Talk about underhanded marketing tactics!

Anyway, enjoy this short video published in 1954 to teach America how to leave the operator behind and dial their new rotary telephones.