Vintage Princess phones: Remember the colorful telephones with a lit dial from the 60s?

Princess phones - Telephone technology from 1960

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Looking back at the debut of the colorful old Princess phones from the 60s (1960)

From the Matawan Journal (Matawan, New Jersey) April 21, 1960

The “Princess,” a newly-designed, compact color telephone with an illuminated dial, represents the sixth major home telephone design change since Alexander Graham Bell’s original invention in 1876.

It’s the result of five years of research by Bell Telephone Laboratories, during which time many problems in miniaturization, encountered in the effort to reduce the size of the phone, were solved.

Vintage blue Princess phone from 1959

An oval-shaped instrument with a new non-skid base, the Princess is four inches high, three-and-three-quarters inches wide, and eight-and-one-half inches long. It takes up one-third less space than the standard table phone now in use, and was designed with this in mind for use anywhere in the home.

The Princess model will be available in white, beige, pink, blue and a new telephone color, turquoise.

Princess phone - Oct 13, 1961

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Vintage Princess phones: They weighed 40 ounces

The new telephone weighs 40 ounces, compared with the 72 ounces of the standard “500” desk model. This reduction was made possible both by miniaturization of components and also by removal of the bell assembly to a small, baseboard-mounted unit.

There is a volume control on the bell unit. With the size of the base reduced, the industrial designer Henry Dreyfus, New York, placed the handset directly over the dial, rather than in the traditional cradle in the rear.

Princess phones - Telephone technology from 1960

A night light, hidden in the base, causes the dial to glow brightly when the handset is lifted. The night light also can be set to glow softly when the phone is not in use by means of a switch in the rear.

Dial on an angle

The dial itself is canted forward at about the same angle as on present phones, but the letters and numbers beneath the finger holes are set above center a fraction of an inch to give the most direct line of sight.

1960 Princess phone

Also, the handset cord is attached to the front of the base for greater convenience. The handset and the dial are the same size as on present telephones. Both of these components were designed after measurements of head and hand proportions of thousands of people.

There will be an extra charge for a “Princess” telephone, the exact amount to be determined in the near future.

Any room is the room for your Princess phone - Vintage Bell Telephone ad form 1964

Look how colorful vintage phones used to be! Dial & touch-tone phones came in lots of decorator colors

1960s Miss Princess Phone contest

In connection with the introduction of the new telephone, New Jersey Bell is running a “Miss Princess Phone” contest among its 15,000 women employees.

There will be eight regional winners chosen from among the more than 600 employees whose photographs were submitted. “Miss Princess Phone” will be picked from that group by a panel of stage, screen and telephone personalities.

White Princess telephones from 1964

Wife preservers (1967)

The telephone can be a wife’s best friend. Helps her get everything done. Saves her wrinkles. Saves her time. Saves her budget, too. A bargain without the hunting. We may be the only phone company in town, but we try not to act like it. AT&T.

Vintage Princess phone from 1967

To each her own Princess: Princess phone colors

Nowadays you see Princess phones in the nicest bedrooms of the nicest homes. They fill the need for an extension, and fill it beautifully.

This lovely little phone goes tastefully in every bedroom. It saves time and steps whenever there are calls to make or take. Keep it within arm’s reach on a desk or by a favorite chair.

See Vintage Princesss phone styles

The history of the telephone, with 50 examples of old phones, including early rotary-dial models

New Princess Phone

It’s little, it’s lovely, and the dial lights up! At a flick of a switch, this phone glows with a soft night light. Fits anywhere.

Colorful pink Princess phones 1961

Flower-fresh colors that will help you decorate

EXTENSION PHONES… like the lovely new Princess put springtime calls at your elbow in the bedroom, kitchen, den or basement playroom. When the ring’s for you, just reach for the nearest extension, save time and steps.

For touches of beauty, choose the phones you need in flower-fresh colors that will help you decorate. The choice is wide, the cost is low.

Springs a ringin 1962 phones 3

Princess phone - Daisy

ALSO SEE: How do you use a rotary phone? We have the original step-by-step booklets from the 40s and 50s

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Comments on this story

One Response

  1. When I was a kid, having more than one phone in your house was considered a luxury. So when I went over to a friend’s house one time and (for some reason I don’t recall) went into his parents’ bedroom, I was really impressed by their Princess phone. I remember picking up the receiver and being amazed at the dial lighting up. It would be many years before my parents would get a phone in their room.

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