WATCH: Two 17 Year-Olds vs a Rotary Phone

They have 4 minutes to figure out how to dial a number. Can they do it?

The rotary phone as we know it, with the finger holes, was first patented in 1904. I have vague recollections of rotary phones as a child. Mostly, they were discarded phones that we played with as toys. I loves dialing zero and watching and listening as the dial glided back around.

We still use the word “dial” to describe making a call and it comes from the circular dial of the rotary phone. In French, the word is “numerotation”, literally, “number rotation”.

These boys were born at the turn of the 21st Century. Can they figure out early 20th century technology?


I love that they keep picking up the phone and putting it back down like they need to reset some sort of lock.

Did you ever use a rotary phone?