How to Use Old Rotary Dial Phone

Latest update: January 20, 2020
The instructions are accurate, but beware the double entendre humor that may be present.

Old Rotary Dial Telephones
How to Dial and Use an old Rotary Phone

The rotary dial part of the telephone is the translucent, plastic circle part with the 10 holes in it. Next to each hole is the corresponding letters and numbers assigned to it.

As with push button telephones, each digit is dialed in sequence.

To dial each digit of the phone number:
  1. Pick up the horizontal, top part of the telephone. This part of the telephone is called the handset or receiver (though it is actually the sender as well).
  2. Place the flat part of the round part of the handset farthest from the cord next to your ear.
  3. Wait for dial tone.
  4. Starting with the phone number's first digit, place finger in appropriate hole.
  5. Rotate hole clockwise until finger is touching the metal hook.
  6. Release hole. The hole will automatically relocate back to its former position. Do not attempt to manually force hole back to its original position. Let it happen naturally.
  7. Repeat steps 4 through 6 for each succeeding digit.
  8. After the last digit, listen for the usual ringing sound.
  9. If someone answers, speak into the flat part of the round part of the handset closest to the cord.
  10. When conversation is completed, place handset back into the cradle as shown in the above picture.
There are no mute buttons.

There are no ringer on/off switches.

In fact, excepting for the two, little plastic buttons in the handset cradle that are the connect and disconnect buttons, there are no other buttons or switches whatsoever.

And that is how one uses and dials the old rotary telephone. May all your rotary experiences be good ones.

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