The newfangled telephones
Prior to moving into his Gettysburg home, President Eisenhower wasn’t familiar with rotary phones. In the White House, his phones were dial-less. He need only lift the receiver and he was immediately connected to his personal switchboard operator.
The President’s very first attempt at using a rotary phone was witnessed by a Secret Service agent. Upon lifting the receiver and being confronted with a dial tone, the President began to repeatedly press the dial tone button. When that achieved no results, he hung up and began turning the dial as though the phone were a safe. He finally gave up and turned to the agent for assistance.
The agent recalled that the President spent the next hour happily calling all his friends, enjoying the phone as though he were playing with a brand new toy.
This information and the photo of three rotary-dial telephones (c1955) courtesy of the Eisenhower National Historic Site. They note, “Gold phones were not made so this one was custom-painted, likely done by request of Elizabeth Draper, Inc. so phone would match the color scheme of the house.”