Thursday, February 08, 2007

The "French Phone" (Continued May 14, 1927)

We continue to hear much about the new French-style phones. Everybody wants one and everybody that has one likes it. Much more convenient than the old instruments, they are much better looking too. We have heard artistically inclined people approve the design and applaud the prospective disappearance of the unlovely upright instrument. In a country wiich places utility above everything, this is certainly a big step forward. We heear mutterings, however, about the fifty-cents-a-month charge for the new instrument, the general opinion being that the corporation should discontinue this after the cost of a new phone has been made up. We presume the Public Utilities Commission or the City Club will look into this matter in due course.

While on this subject we might as well express our satisfaction with the dial system. We have found that twirling the little discs has always proved not only amusing but effectual. It is a long way ahead of the old method of depending on a human operator. Progress is being made, even by our mightiest corporations.


Anonymous said...

boo on janne3514. that is not an appropriate repsonse to "The "French Phone" (Continued May 14, 1927)"

Adam Thornton said...

Yeah Jane, beat it and take your crappy blog ad with you!

Anonymous said...

Zut alors! What effrontery the audacious Jane exhibits!

Hmmm..what magazine today would call a product "amusing but effectual"? (Come to think of it, that describes several of my body parts as well.)

And it seems like the phone company, aka "Ma Bell," was gouging their customers in the distant past, as well. Fifty cents a month? No wonder Lassie's farm on TV had one of those two-part wall jobs--with the crank--until well into the 1950s.

And what's with the risque overtones of the new product? French phone? Are those like French postcards? Or French letters? When Bell introduced their trimline phones in colors other than black Bakelite (sacre bleu!), they were called the Princess model. I guess I was supposed to feel like a pre-queen if I wanted one.

eric the unamusing and ineffectual

VanillaJ said...

Imagine a time when advertisers assumed that consumers would read sales pitches that rambled on for paragraphs. My gawd! Presumably, this isn't an ole' time consumer report or trade magazine, yet it's length equates to some magazine articles.

Adam Thornton said...

Well, France was CERTAINLY the thing to readers of "The New Yorker" in 1927. They had a semi-regular feature called "Letters from France," and they make seasonal references to all of the rich Americans who are vacationing over there.

Risque overtones, though, certainly: France was the place of French postcards, topless revues, and legal booze.

Still, though, they apparently called it the "French Phone" because it was similar to...well, phones in France. But I have yet to find any real clarification.

Wow, I keep meaning to look up what a "Princess Phone" actually was, you've just answered my question!

Adam Thornton said...

It's not an advertisement, it's part of the "Of All Things" section at the front of the magazine, where the staff writers make short (often clever-clever) comments about current events.

But you're totally right, the adverts WERE much wordier. I'll post an example soon...