DRB Time-Slice: Golden Telephone For Pope Pius

Link - article by Avi Abrams

Time-Slices: Random Delectable Pieces of Art, Style and Technology - Year-by-Year, from 1900 to Now
DRB Time-Slice: 1930 Design - Issue 2

Time-Slices: totally addictive and delicious "Best of the Best" pickings of country-specific art, culture, technology and fashion, which should go great with our special Dark Roasted Blend of cool things to complement your daily coffee ritual!

To ensure total and complete randomness of these outings we use Random Number Generator for "Years" and "Category" and Random Country Generator for "Locations". We are going to gradually fill out our custom 100-year timeline with fascinating entries (in parallel with our usual features and normal content), so stay tuned and check on us often!

Today's "Spin of the Exploration Wheel" gave us the following:

Year: 1930
Category: Design
Location: Vatican City

One would need to be kneeling to speak with Pope Pius XII on a phone

This is one Very Important Telephone for a Very Important Person. In fact, having a Golden Telephone in your possession is considered one of the symbols of great power, or communicating with a Higher Power. In case of Pope Pius XII who has been given this particular golden telephone in 1930, the Higher Power would be... God? Maybe not, since communication with God is done by means of prayer - but whatever is spoken on this phone, we're sure, would be quite important... So much so, in fact, that the original protocol of speaking with the Pope at the time was to kneel. After Pope Pius the protocol has been changed, so it is not a requirement to kneel today. Oooph, what a relief.

(images via)

This golden telephone was used for until the end of Pope John XXIII's pontificate in 1963. "Since 1963, the pope uses a standard phone in 'papal' white." Interestingly, another "golden telephone" has been given to the Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista in 1957, hardly a saintly figure (the golden telephone also appeared in "The Godfather Part II" movie, further damaging its "power connection" reputation). This page includes an amusing story about such phones:

In Oliver Stone's "The Doors", Jim Morrison meets Andy Warhol who greets him at a party. The camera focuses on a golden telephone, which Warhol picks up and holds out to Morrison saying: "Somebody gave me this telephone... I think it was Edie... yeah it was Edie... and she said I could talk to God with it, but uh... I don't have anything to say... so here... (giving Jim the phone) this is for you... now you can talk to God." Jim Morrison accepts the telephone and later gives it to a homeless person.

The Sultan's phone: another V.I.P. phone from 1930

Film Biz Recycling is an interesting company that "seeks to recycle and re-purpose the vast amount of reusable commercial material run-off from New York City's movie productions". One of the great examples of their ex-movie-set goodies (see more here) is this highly ornamental Sultan's phone:

(image credit: Film Biz Recycling)

Another 1930s Classic Telephone: from a Private Eye Office

Phones surely have come a long way since the 1930s (or even 1980s). Rotary dial phones are already obsolete, with some better examples becoming fascinating technology artifacts. Kids today are growing up without ever using a rotating-dial phone, without hearing a particular quaint sound they make (some say, it's "clicking", others try to imitate it as "ra-ta-ta") - that sound gone from our memory together with the loud chirping of dial-up modems.

On the left you can see a restored Art Deco design styled by Ericsson in 1934, and on the right is a "regal beehive telephone" - both with an internal ringer (a rarity at the time!), decorated with the brushed steel or brass inserts:

(images via 1, 2)

There is an excellent selection of classic 1930s phones available on this site (some of them are as expensive as a new iPhone):

(images via)

Here is a wooden Crosley 1930s Wall Phone (with a 1920s style crank handle which actually turns) featuring brushed bronze plates:

(images via)

Non-dial phones from the 1930s have that subtly menacing, even sinister look to them... This model 700 from the Kellogg Company of Chicago has also been nicknamed "ashtray" due to unusual style of its bakelite pitch-black body:

(image via)

And we finish with some of the Russian Collection phones used in the Soviet Union in the 1930s:

Article by Avi Abrams, Dark Roasted Blend.



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