Launch 3 Museum Feature: Magneto-type Wall Phone

0807141235Launch 3 is steadfast in our pursuit to open a telephone museum in the coming years consisting of unique and vintage phones. Through the test of time, the phone has been countlessly altered from large wall units to the tiny mobile devices we hold in our pocket.

Launch 3 has recently acquired an old-fashioned Magneto-type wall telephone. The particular phone in our museum dates back to 1901. This type of phone was in use as far back as the 1890s and was in circulation up to the 1930s. The last known usage of a phone like this was during the late 1980s.  What exactly is a magneto-type phone? It is a wooden wall unit, sometime referred to as a coffin, which contains a hand-cranked electrical generator unit inside. It uses the magnets to send a pulsed signal from the rotating frame to the operator. It also contains a piece for you to talk into as well as a piece to hear from.

One might look at this phone and ask “How can you make a call without numbers?”.  Homes would belong to a party line in which the operator could connect you. The user would use the crank to ring the bells on the wall unit while simultaneously alerting an operator at the local telephone exchange. It would notify the operator of the number of the line to which the magneto telephone was linked with. The operator would then connect you with the person you were looking to talk with.

If you have interesting and vintage telephone equipment like this one and would like to contribute to our museum, contact our team and we will send you a shipping label so you could send us your donation with no charge to you. You can contact us at 877-878-9134 or email