Today in 1923, Antoine Barnay filed the first patent application for a rotary dial telephone in France.
From The Aesthetic:
The old phones have an aesthetic that new phones sorely lack. They ring, for one thing, with real bells. All that chirping, beeping and buzzing from the new phones gets pretty annoying, after all.
The phones are heavy-duty, as well. All that black plastic and metal. They don’t slide around your desk. When you hold the receiver to your head, it feels like you’re actually holding something. Drop an old phone, and it won’t crack. It might crack whatever it hits on the way down, but it won’t suffer any damage.
And then there’s that rotary dialing. Patented in 1923 by Frenchman Antoine Barnay, it’s wonderfully mechanical. No tones, no computer chip. Sure, it takes a little longer to place a long distance phone call, but hey, what’s the rush anyway? The rotary dialer forces you to consider what you’re doing, not rush things so. All that, and they look pretty cool on your desk too.