Forget the iPhone. Check out my rPhone!

Oh, sure, you’ve heard of the iPhone, Apple’s smartphone (phones that have other functions, such as music and video players and web browsers). Millions have been sold, and it has singlehandedly (by itself, without any other help) changed the way people think about phones in terms of (with regards to) style and function. But have you heard of an even cooler (more attractive; more impressive) device (machine), one that makes sounds when you use it, that is a game and a phone all rolled into one (as part of one package, one thing)?  Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you my new rPhone™*:

Pretty cool, eh?  Of course, those of us of a certain age (that is, old) remember when the only kind of phone was the rPhone, with no tones (sounds) other than the dial tone (the sound you hear when you first pick up a phone, before dialing it).  (The “r” stands for “rotary,” which refers to the circle or wheel you turn with your fingers to make a call.)  You needed to use a little elbow grease (strength) to dial it, and instead of tones, you heard clicks, but it seemed to be sufficient for the first 50+ years of telephone service in the world.

I found my rPhone at an antiques store (where old furniture and other old items are sold) back in St. Paul when I was there in August.  It works great, even though it is probably 40 or 50 years old.  You use your fingers to dial it (it’s like a game!),  it requires no software updates or Internet access, and it never gets a virus (a kind of illness or a harmful computer problem).

I’ve started using it now for most of my calls, and if I need to use the keypad (the numbers 0-9, *, and #) with its tones, I just pick up my other phone on the same phone line.  I love it.  Why?  It takes several seconds to dial a number, slowing down my life just a little and giving me time to think about what I am going to say to the person I’m calling.  It is a little taste (sample) of the slower, calmer life of my youth.  And if the power goes out (the electricity is interrupted or stopped), the rPhone keeps on working – no batteries required.

Next up (the next thing) for me, a manual (non-electric) typewriter!


Photo: © Jeff McQuillan

* = The term rPhone is trademarked (™) by Jeff McQuillan (or should be).

This entry was posted in Life in the United States, Technology. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Forget the iPhone. Check out my rPhone!

  1. Valerie says:

    Oh, cool! I have such telephone in one of my room too. It’s funny, but works very well. In other room we have telephone with buttons but working from non-electric power too. And when the power goes out our neighbours and friends envy us becouse they have electrical telephones and they have no connection with outer world at this moments 🙂 We also have gas stove (not electrical), it’s also useful in such situations:)

  2. Rolf, Germany says:

    Hello Jeff,

    I still use a paper datebook to note my appointments. I once owned an electronic one. Forget all about it. It was a slow, unreliable and unhandy gadget. When sometime the batteries died and all the information vanished, I discrded it and returned to the paper version.

  3. Alexey says:

    Hi Jeff! I had the same rPhone back in my childhood and it’s still probably somewhere in my parents’ house. And I llllove when typewriter buttons bounce back and let you type really fast. I’m still trying to find computer keyboard that gives you the same feeling. Thanks for your post, you made me smile a bit! Cheers!

  4. Gilberto Salazar says:

    Hi Jeff, another advantage or plus of this phone is: exercise your memory!!
    Because doesn’t has address book or contacts.


  5. Boby says:

    I think it´s a right thing. Back to the roots ! Only way we can survive. :-)) Just kidding.
    Boby (Czech Rep).

  6. emiliano says:

    Once upon a time there was ………….a phone like this all over the world and I love it. So many moments of my life have been joined to this type of phone that it takes me a long time to be accustomed to the cellphones or similar devices.

    Yes, congratulations Jeff, I would like to have one like yours.

    I phoned Cuca, my wife, with such a kind of iphone and she said to me in return with her soft and kind voice the words i wanted to hear
    from her mouth.
    Yes, another life, another time, another sounds, all was different……
    The time of youth, illusions, time to relax and to think about the person you wanted to talk with.
    Time of Rock and Roll, Elvis, Bee Gees, “guateques”, Simon and Garfunkell…….Beatles.
    It seems that time was going to last for ever, like this iphone that works perfectly well despite 50 or 60 years after it was made.

    Jeff, good taste and I think it is and exquisite choice.

  7. Sanaz says:

    Thanks Jeff,
    Sometimes, it’s good to go back to the past and use antique instruments to remind us what we used to use in the past and get rid of modern technologies for a while.
    It’s like when we look at our childhood pictures, the kind of clothes we used to wear and the style of our haircuts. It’s so funny and interesting:).


    The rPhone not only helps to improve memory as Gilberto says but also to strengthen the muscles of the arm due to weight, and in certain circumstances as a weapon of defense !!

  9. magda says:

    I don’t believe! You got be kidding. lol…………

  10. Alvaro says:

    Cool thing! I also enjoy using antique things but don’t really wanna to get rid of the all the good points only a hightech device can have. That reminds me a notebook I’ve seen a while ago. You problably have seen it, but if not, I’m sure you’ll enjoy as much as I did. The website is [link removed:

    Greetings from Brazil!

  11. Aécio Flávio Perim says:

    Dear teachers
    Again I have to say publicly it is a good idea to bring old things up today. That device shown this time in a beautiful picture is not so old that it ought to be classified useless, out of fashion, or other thing. Old times when this world seemed to be friendlier, one simple dial and you would talk to people as a miracle. Good shot my teacher took in touching this subject. It brings good times to our memories.
    Aecio from Brazil

  12. abudy says:

    for sorry my iphone has died last week 🙂 so let’s share with you your new old fashion tech “Rphone” 🙂
    thank you dr. jeff , i like your sense of humor .

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