Remember those old movies, in which people used to dial over these phones and make calls? These 500 series phones showed their presence for long. Be it Hollywood or Indian Bollywood, these phones were depicted even when common public turned down on using them.


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The ‘500’ was America’s basic phone for over three decades. It improved upon several design features over the earlier telephones. It came with both rotary and push button dialing systems, as well as various other optional features. In the early 1950s, Bell began to promote phones in “designer colors”. This is probably the single biggest feature that draws collectors to the ‘500s’ today. There was over one hundred color variations, and one could spend years trying to accumulate all of them.

The 500 design was better than its predecessors in various ways. This design improved manufacturing and servicing efficiency. The numbers and letters on the 500 were moved to the circumference of the dial plate to make them clearly visible from a wide range of viewing angles even while the dial was spinning back to its resting position, and dots were placed in the center of the finger holes as targets to help position the finger quicker for dialing of the next digit while the wheel was still spinning back. After extensive testing, this arrangement had the benefit of reducing the rate of dialing errors, and increased the speed of dialing each digit by fractions of a second. The 500 series replaced many metal parts, especially in the dial, with much more durable Nylon components.

Hence, features from this model were carried further and design of the telephone was improved upon.

– Akriti Kaur