Saturday, May 05, 2007

Rotary Phones

Let us all savagely mourn the death of the Machine Age. A well-designed machine is a triumph of the human imagination no less than a sketch or a sonnet. The aesthetic pleasures of a typewriter should not be taken lightly. Certainly, human beings still create gadgets. But with the advent of the Machine Age there has been a diminution in both size and grandeur.

Therefore, it makes a certain sense that there are rotary phone devotees among us. There are a few retailers who will sell digital phones that look like the rotary models, and a few companies that sell legitimate rotary phones. Remarkably enough, they still work on domestic phone lines. Besides, there's something dignified about the rotary phone: the shiny black exoskeleton, the somber heft of the handset, the agitated two-tone chime. They remind one of a time when consumer items were built to last, or at least, not designed to fall apart. They likely remind people of a time when it was assumed that their own lives could have heft and stability as well.

4 comments:

Hiromi said...

In the words of the Yip Yip Aliens, "BRRRRRRRRIIIIIIIIIING!!!"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z4VNMERVsC4

Rufus said...

It really is an endearing sound, isn't it? I think I might well buy one of these phones, should I ever have actual money.

gregvw said...

There was an amusing homage to the alien muppet thing on Drawn Together.

Rufus said...

I had forgotten how brilliant those aliens were. Thanks for the link.