Reproducing the Trimphone
By James Grahame
The British General Post Office released the Trimphone as a luxury handset in 1964. This was back in the day when telephones were mysterious, hulking beasts that had to be installed by mysterious, hulking unionized workers.
Instead of a paint-peeling bell, the Trimphone used an electronic warbler that gradually increased the volume as the phone rang. The luminous dial in early models was lit by a tube of tritium gas which gave off a ghostly (and mildly radioactive) glow. The original rotary dial version was replaced by a slightly taller model with a keypad in the late 1970s.
A gazillon years later, Wild & Wolf has introduced a reasonably priced £35 reproduction. It includes push button dialing arranged to look somewhat like a rotary dial, along with a frighteningly futuristic redial button and a ringer volume switch. It also comes in an array of shades that would have been utterly shocking in the early 1960s -- purple, turquoise, orange, and even a shade of green that would earn Kermit the frog's instant approval.
I'd love one, but the idea of having a phone permanently tethered to the wall is a bit too quaint even for my tastes. Besides, I'm not sure my addled brain could handle having to memorize everyone's phone number.