Your first phone call

United States
August 10, 2007 1:23pm CST
I was watching an old movie recently and noticed how phone calls were made at that time. In this movie they were using rotary dial phones. As far as I can remember, my very first call was made on a rotary dial phone, even though my grandmother had both a rotary dial and a push button phone at the time. Do you remember what kind of phone you had when you made your first phone call? I'm only 40 and have seen quite a transition in how phone calls are made and wondered how much it had changed since you made your first phone call.
10 people like this
28 responses
@BarBaraPrz (20997)
• St. Catharines, Ontario
10 Aug 07
Rotary. Definitely rotary. In fact, my mom still had two rotary phones in use in her house up until she moved in with me in the late 90s.
4 people like this
@34momma (13895)
• United States
10 Aug 07
wo the late 90s. now that is old school for sure!! LOL. my grandfather would act like he didn't know how the buttons worked! and then we we got call waiting i think he almost lost his mind!!!!!!!! man i miss that man
4 people like this
• United States
10 Aug 07
I guess the movie was probably pretty accurate then. I guess some places accept change a little faster than others. I thought it was a little strange that the movie I was watching was made in 1992. I knew we had a push button phone when I made my first call in 6th grade, which would have been in the late 70's.
3 people like this
@BarBaraPrz (20997)
• St. Catharines, Ontario
10 Aug 07
What movie was that?
1 person likes this
• United States
10 Aug 07
I'm about 10 yrs older than you and we didn't get a push button phone until I was in Jr. High School. I thought it was the coolest thing since sliced bread! I remember dialing the "time and temperature" number about a dozen times the first few days just to use the buttons. I still have an old rotary phone that's hooked up in the basement. It belonged to my grandparents and it's from the 1950's. I swear this thing weighs 15 lbs! The receiver alone weighs about 5 lbs. It's made of what feels and looks like cast iron. Even the dial is made of metal. It still works .. ah they don't make things like they used to. LOL.
4 people like this
• United States
10 Aug 07
WOW! My grandmother worked for the phone company when I was little and I can't say I ever saw one like that! Talk about heavy. I must say I like the lighter ones, lol. :)
2 people like this
• United States
10 Aug 07
I wish I knew where they got it too. I've never seen another one like it except on an old black and white movie once.
3 people like this
• United States
11 Aug 07
I don't suppose it still has a label on the bottom?
@34momma (13895)
• United States
10 Aug 07
mine too. and i remember trying to get my grandfather to get a push button phone was like pulling teeth. you use to think you got charged for pushing the buttons!!!! it took years to get him to get a new phone. when he did were so happy. but i think he didn't want new phone cause then he couldn't lock it!! do you remember the phone locks??
@BarBaraPrz (20997)
• St. Catharines, Ontario
10 Aug 07
Phone locks? Never heard of that...
3 people like this
@34momma (13895)
• United States
10 Aug 07
it was a little like that comes with a key. like the ones you find on a diary or something. nothing to strong but the whole idea is to make you think you can't use the phone. but we always got it off with a butter knife
4 people like this
• United States
10 Aug 07
LOL, yes, I do remember seeing them. My grandfather threatened to get one for ours after I got in trouble for making my first call. :)
3 people like this
@makingpots (11922)
• United States
10 Aug 07
Yep, rotary dial for me too. I am forty one and have seen the changes you refer to. It is amazing. I remember that phone, it was black with a huge dial face and it hung on the wall in our den. I was little and couldn't even reach it. I also remember what my first phone call was. I called my friend Nancy to ask if she could come over to play. I was so nervous, I had to stand on a chair and my mom helped me dial the number myself. So funny that I can remember that.
4 people like this
• United States
10 Aug 07
I can remember my first phone call too. I got in trouble for making a call so early in the morning. I quickly learned about telephone etiquette. :)
2 people like this
10 Aug 07
would you believe it but I can't remember Being raised in the middle of nowhere Alberta I can't think that we had a phone until I had left homw
4 people like this
• United States
10 Aug 07
After I got married, the only phone we had was the pay phone at our apartment complex. :)
2 people like this
@patgalca (14618)
• Orangeville, Ontario
10 Aug 07
I will be 45 this year. Yes, we had a rotary dial phone (and a black and white television). We only had two phones I think. Now there is, like, a phone in every room of the house, as well as the roam phone. Back then there were only black phones. When we switched to the push button phone we got a green phone (my mom's kitchen was all green back then). I was excited about getting the new phone. Can't imagine why. LOL!
4 people like this
• United States
10 Aug 07
Not much choice in colors bach then, lol. :) Our rotary phone was black and the push button phone in the hall was avocado green.
2 people like this
@coolseeds (3921)
• United States
10 Aug 07
The first phone that I used was a rotary. I am so glad I didn't have to turn the crank on the side of the phone and ask the operator to connect me with A275H. Pretty soon all you will have to do is think of the person and it will call them.
4 people like this
• United States
10 Aug 07
Oh you are too funny! :) I'm so glad they had real phone numbers by the time I started using a phone.
3 people like this
@cynddvs (2950)
• United States
10 Aug 07
I remember my great grandmother had a rotary phone. And I think we had one as well. So I guess that's probably the first kind of phone I ever used. Although I can't remember back that far to really say for sure.
4 people like this
• United States
10 Aug 07
Don't suppose you remember your first call or why you made it?
2 people like this
• Malaysia
10 Aug 07
I'm 46... shure rotary dial lol... hehehe
4 people like this
@suspenseful (40316)
• Canada
10 Aug 07
Back when dinosaurs ruled the earth (1950S) we had the rotary dial phones and instead of all numbers, we had a name in the beginning. I think ours was Fairfax and later when we moved it became Hastings plus the four numbers. Then they changed them to all numbers, but it was five numbers for some time, until they later changed it to six numbers as it is now. Later on they made push button phones which I sort of liked as it cut down on misdialing (finger slipping)_ Now you have to remember not just six numbers, but in some case nine numbers as well as the code you have to put in.
• United States
10 Aug 07
It's a good thing some phones have the caller ID feature now. :)
1 person likes this
@BarBaraPrz (20997)
• St. Catharines, Ontario
10 Aug 07
My first phone number was Crescent 8-8394. I still remember it. Um, 6 numbers? Count again. I'm sure, even in Winterpeg, it's 7... Here in Hamilton, we have 10-digit numbers. Back in the mid-60s, my family moved to a small town that still had the old phone equipment. Even though we had the new-fangled 3-digit prefix (846-), we could use the old 1-digit one (5-) to call in-town.
2 people like this
@shinjiao (1464)
• China
11 Aug 07
The first phone I met in my life was a rotary phone in my grandparents' house.At that time,I was curious about how this kind of phone worked but I was not brave to dial it coz I didn't know anyone's number so I just looked at it,never used it,lol.
• United States
11 Aug 07
So what kind of phone did you make your first call on?
@marinarovi (1318)
• Argentina
11 Aug 07
Hi paidreader! I'm 28 year's old, but I remember my first phone call on rotary dial phone! And for a very long time we had that rotary dial phone at home. First time I used a push button phone was at my dad's office many years later... Hey, you made me feel old with this discussion, grrr!! I't like confessing I had no disposable dipers, I used washable ones, puaj! =)
• United States
11 Aug 07
LOL, you're not old, but I know what you mean. My grandmother delights in telling me that she's still using my old diapers to dry her dishes. She'll even go so far as to show me my initials on the edge. ;)
@sid556 (31003)
• United States
11 Aug 07
I was 3 when I made the first call that I remember. My mom had gone into labor with my brother and I had to call my gram to come and get me. It was a rotary phone...1959.Back then we had operators ...live operators to assist us if we needed help. Also ....the party lines. I remember having one for a long time because they were so much cheaper. The luxery of having a private line!! Now the phone co. charges big rates for 3 party conversations! Push button? I don't remember just when that came out but i know rotary was around and common for a long long time. And cordless...I got my first cordless phone, hmm...8 0's?? I still have an old push button non-cordless phone...comes in real handy when we lose power. I don't use it but I won't get rid of it either.
• United States
11 Aug 07
WOW! You did start young, lol. I'm glad there were still operators to help you make the call. I remember the first time I had to call for an ambulance. I was in 10th grade when my dad had a heat stroke and I had the hardest time figuring out how to call them. That was before 911 service became available in our area. About the 3 party calls, you are so right! I got very upset when the bill came in after my daughter made several calls like that. The shame of it is, all three parties get charged those high fees whether they initiated the call or not. I eventually had to block the service.
1 person likes this
@sid556 (31003)
• United States
12 Aug 07
Um...actually no one helped me make the call. I had my gram's # memorized so I guess this wasn't my first call but only the first call I actually remember. As my mom jumped into a car waiting to take her to the hospital, she told me to go to my grams. I panicked as I didn't understand where she was going and with a suitcase! I called my gram and told her I'd been abandoned. It caused a bit of trouble between her and my mom. I should have gone next door to my other gram's. I was blonde even back then. \ Ya...the 3 way calling is ridiculous. I have mine blocked too...had to! It is quite the rip off and the phone company is aware that only kids would be using it and abusing it.
1 person likes this
@vani24 (783)
• India
11 Aug 07
Hi nice discussion, well i am 25 now, and the first phone call was pressing button system, though they were rotary dial phones but i used pus button phone...Thank you so much for posting a good discussion bye and have a nice day and take care, i think all people of my age had make use of push button phones ...Well in my grand ma's age she never knew about phones... Bye and have a nice day... Thanks, Vani.
1 person likes this
• United States
11 Aug 07
Hi vani24! You're just a little older than my daughter and she has never used a rotary phone either. As an adult, our first home phone was push button with the option of pulse or rotary dial. We've come along way since then, lol. :)
@vani24 (783)
• India
12 Aug 07
Oh is it...thats so nice to hear that..and what else going on? Whats your name ? My name is Vani and i am from India..Ok bye and have a great weekend ahead...Thank you so much for your response.... Thanks, Vani.
1 person likes this
@lexus54 (3576)
• Singapore
11 Aug 07
I still remember when I was young, the telephones were rotary dial phones. Push button phones only came later. But my first phone as a little boy was not these real phones that go through the telephone exchange. Rather, they were those where we connected two cups together with a string, and then put our mouth into the cup to talk, while at the other end, the receiver put the ear into the cup to try and hear what the sender said..LOL. Those were our cheap (or rather free) play phones we used to call one another.
1 person likes this
• United States
11 Aug 07
LOL, So did they really work or were you just close enough that you could hear the other person talking anyway?
@lexus54 (3576)
• Singapore
13 Aug 07
They did work to some extent, because sound waves travel through the string. But the sound is quite soft, so the talker has to speak loudly. Furthermore, the distance between the 2 cups cannot be far, otherwise the sound will dissipate before it reaches the other end. But it was fun playing with these crude phones.
1 person likes this
@abroji (3247)
• India
11 Aug 07
I live in India and I am 58. During my child hood and college days, phone was considered a very luxury item here. Only very few houses had a phone. Public phones were also rare even in the city.I made my first call in 1967 and from a rotary dialing phone. Only by the mid eighties did the push button model appear here. Now phone is available in every household and even the rikshaw man, the fish vendor and a porter has his own mobile. Great change.
1 person likes this
• United States
11 Aug 07
I know what you mean about it being a luxury item abroji. Since my grandmother worked for the phone company, she did get some of the newest phone gadgets before most people. I didn't get my first home phone until the mid 90's. For us, it was just as easy and much less expensive to use the payphone. Now even the payphones are beginning to disappear as everyone seems to have their own mobile phone. :)
1 person likes this
@abroji (3247)
• India
12 Aug 07
In 1970 while my parents were away in Singapore I used to make some calls to them. I remember how hard it was to get them connected. After booking a trunk call I had to wait for more than two hours to get them in line. When connected all the roaring of the Indian ocean could be heard through the phone and I had to roar and shout to make them hear what I say. But today I can connect my mobile to any number anywhere and can make the conversation as if I am talking to the person in the next room. What a change!
1 person likes this
• Philippines
11 Aug 07
I have the phone that we are using today. I don't remember using rotary dial phone way before. What i remember is i seen a rotary dial phone on a old movies.
• United States
11 Aug 07
Push button or cordless?
@nzinky (822)
• United States
11 Aug 07
I remember very well the frist phone call I made. You picked up the reciever and rang the crank I asked the operator for the time and she told me. When my parnets got home I got a spanking for playing with the phone cause the operator my parnets. It wasn't till after I was out of the house in the sixtys that my parnets got their frist rotary dial phone then in the ninteys they got their frist push button phone. We lived in a small town in the midwest and it sure was behind times. They still don't have any ATM Machines in our town so when I ask where I could find one they looked at me and laughted. They thought I came from another planet. I was surprised that hardly anyone in the town had a computer much less have the internet. Guess those farmers still don't like all the modern conventes the the rest of us like.
• United States
11 Aug 07
LOL, I got in trouble for my first call too. It wasn't the operator that called back though. It was the mother of the girl I called before school. The times have definately changed, but you're right, it's slower in some places. :)
@xnipher (544)
• Philippines
11 Aug 07
I remember with my grandmother.... we call on a phone booth... the one that have to pay a coin...
1 person likes this
• United States
11 Aug 07
That's what I had to use once I got married. :)
@worldwise1 (14887)
• United States
11 Aug 07
I'm quite a bit older than you, paidreader, and even I cannot remember back further than the rotary dial phones. I guess the phones have evolved quite a bit since the days when they had them on the wall and had to wind them up to reach the operator. I used to watch a lot of old movies with these types of phones in them.
• United States
11 Aug 07
LOL, me too! That's the only way to see the old time switch boards too. :)