"The phone is a remarkably complex, simple device,
and very rarely ever needs repairs, once you fix them." - Dan/Panther

Main Menu

American Automatic Telephone Company Dial

Started by Contempra, January 05, 2023, 10:37:23 AM

Previous topic - Next topic


Does this kind of dial still exist? Personally, I have never seen a single one in my life of this type of dial.


That is absolutely remarkable! I would love to learn how it works. It looks like it is a prototype only?!



After watching the video, one thing came to mind - durability (wear/tear/repair).

The attached pdf file is of a discussion posted on the JKL Museum website in 2015

The last post by Ross Herbert on March 2, 2015 was thinking along the same lines:

"Just imagine the production and maintenance problems with such a dial 🙂

It only has an impulsing springset. How were the usual functions provided by the off-normal (shunt) springsets found on common rotary dials performed?"


The clock-making trade and industry had reached a stunningly high degree of perfection *) even in the early 20th century, I am quite convinced it would be possible to overcome these problems - if it was only wanted.
Apparently the conventional dial was cheaper and (once introduced) so common that it was hard to beat. Only when it turned out that solid state electronics would be cheaper to produce and have a greater potential for further development than "mechanical marvels", touch-tone keypads made the race.

*) isn't it crazy how the most complicated astronomical clocks were made long before the first bicycle? While the bicycle is the most useful and practical invention ever made, besides telephones.
The Antikythera mechanism anticipated many principles of mechanical engineering without any obvious practical use. It seems theory sometimes is a stronger motivation for humans than practical challenges...


Another unusual dial mechanism:

The manufacturing costs were probably also too high. To be honest, I prefer the classic dial. I have gotten used to it.