Well, now that I have your attention, I want to show you all some of the various models of telephones that were in common use during the 1940s. If you watch some episodes of Homefront attentively, you'll recognize some of these historic icons of the time-honored Bell System. So, let's have a look at some telephones of the Homefront era!
Above: This was the Bell System logo, as it appeared from 1939, and on through the 1940s, until about 1964.
Above: The Western Electric 302 desktop telephone was designed by a man named Dryfus in 1937. It was in use from 1938 and was in production until 1954. The 302 was the first phone to break away from the older "pedestal" design. It was also the first phone to contain the ringer within the body of the phone itself, thus eliminating the need for a separate subset. The pre-WW2 models had a metal body and bakelite handset. From 1941, onward, the body was made of bakelite and later, thermoplastic. The 302 is also known to collectors as the "Lucy phone" as it appeared in several episodes of the hit sitcom, "I Love Lucy." The rugged 302 phone remained in service in some parts of the country until the late 1970s! Observent viewers of Homefront will know that the 302 phone was in use in the Metcalf home.
Above: The Western Electric 202 telephone was the last phone to feature the pedestal design. This model was in production until the more advanced 302 became popular. Basically, the 202 model was the same as the late oval-base model 102, except that the handset or receiver was lightened and more streamlined. Like all other pedestal-type phones, it required a separate subset or ringer box that was generally mounted on the wall near the floor. The 202 phone was also very rugged, due to its simple metal-body construction. The handset was made of bakelite. Many 202s were also in service as late as the 1970s. Note the coiled cord, an upgrade that was generally available after WW2.
Above: The Western Electric 102 was introduced in the late 1920s. The first models had a round base. Later versions were produced with an oval base (above), which afforded more stability. This phone sported a heavy handset or "receiver" with a "spitcup" mouthpiece. And, yes, that's what it was called! The 102 was a very popular model, and is much in evidence in movies of the 1930s and 1940s. In one episode of Homefront, Ginger is speaking on one of these phones. It goes to show how accurately the producers portrayed the era!
Above: The Automatic Electric made its appearance in 1925 and was one of the first desktop telephones to have a one-piece handset. This model remained in service all through the 1930s and 1940s.
Above: This Automatic Electric desktop phone was designed to compete with the popular Western Electric 302. Like most other telephones manufactured from 1941 and onward, the body of the phone was made of bakelite or thermoplastc. Note the Art Deco lines of this model.
Above: The ubiquitous candlestick phone made its appearance early in the 20th century and remained an iconic symbol of telephone communications for decades. The model pictured here, dates from the 1920s. This version, with its ability to dial out without the assistance of the operator, could be seen in service well into the 1950s
Above: Here is a Stromberg/Carlson Office telephone of the 1930s - 1940s. A rather interesting design, which contained the ringer within the body, yet had a pedestal design.
Above: This was the standard subset or ringer box that was required equipment for most pedestal-type telephones. It should be noted here, that the subset did not disappear with the advent of phones with ringers incorporated into their designs. They were sometimes seen in use with 302, and other model phones and, when I was growing up during the 1960s, my parents had a desktop standard phone with a subset affixed to the wall by the floor in our diningroom
Above: Here is a typical pay phone of the late-1920s, to the early 1950s. This type of pay phone, with it's separate ear-piece, is much in evidence during the Homefront era. It is the type that is sometimes seen in episodes of Homefront. The phone on the wall in the boarding house, where Charley, Caroline, and Gina live, is the version without an independent dial. In order to place a call, you had to drop in your coin and wait for the operator to come on and place your call for you.
More great phone pics to follow as I come across them!
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