When I was growing up, the only phones I ever saw were black with rotary dials, like the one shown in this video. Ours was located in the hallway at the bottom of the stairs, sitting on top of a little table that also held an encyclopedia-sized telephone directory.


I remember when push-button phones arrived on the scene and how we all thought they were so cool. This just made me think about what my friends would have said in the late 1970s if I could take one of today’s smartphones back through time to show them. The phone wouldn’t work as a phone or GPS, of course, but the music and games and graphics and touchscreen would have blown them away.

There’s an old saying that “Nostalgia ain’t what it used to be,” but I beg to differ, because I’m getting more nostalgic by the day, and one of the things I’m getting nostalgic about is the old rotary dial telephones.

Ubercool Handheld Rotary Dial Telephone (Click image to see a larger version — Image source: Justine-Haupt)

So, you can only imagine my surprise when my chum Peter Traneus Anderson (a.k.a. Traneus Rex) pointed me at one of the projects on Justine Haupt’s website — her Open Source Rotary Cellphone.

The origin of this project and its evolution are described in detail, along with all of the design files. You can even purchase a kit comprising the main circuit board and 3D-printed shell, along with threaded inserts and buttons. You will have to source a few bits and pieces — including the rotary dial — separately, but I think the result would be worth it.

I can only imagine the buzz this would generate amongst my techno-weenie friends. How about you? Do you think you could be tempted to one of these little scamps?