How to Use a Rotary Phone

A rotary phone basically refers to a pulse dialing phone that uses a rotary dial to connect the user to the phone exchange. The rotary dial has the numbers arranged on it in a circular layout. The numbers correspond to the number of times the direct electrical current of the telephone will be interrupted by the dial.

Even though rotary phones and pulse dialing are hardly in use any longer, you never know when you might run into one. In some parts of the world, technological advancements do not arrive as quickly as they do in others, and thus traditional phones are still in use. You might find yourself in a part of the world where a rotary phone is the only thing connecting you to the outside world. Using a rotary phone is very simple, but it is still important to become familiar with the basics.

Things Required:

– Rotary phone
– Pen or rubber


  • 1

    The first thing that you need to do is get yourself a rotary phone and plug its wire in a socket. Unlike the contemporary phones (such as the wireless varieties), a rotary phone needs to be connected to the exchange through a large network of wires.

  • 2

    Once you have plugged in the phone, pick up the handset from the cradle (the part of the phone where it rests), and put it to your ear in order to check for the dial tone. If you cannot hear anything, then there is a strong likelihood that the phone is not properly plugged in. If the problem persists even after you have adjusted the plug, then there is a chance that the phone line is dead, or the phone is faulty. Call the telephone exchange to lodge a complaint regarding a dead phone line. If the problem continues even after the exchange confirms that the problem has been fixed, then take your telephone to a repair centre and get it checked and fixed.

  • 3

    After you start hearing the dial tone, keep the handset to your ear and rotate the rotary dial using your index finger. The dial will have holes with digits in them. Place your finger inside the hole with the digit that you want to dial and then rotate the dial in the clockwise direction until your finger touches a metal stop. Take your finger out at this point and let the dial reset to its original position. You will hear the fluctuation in the dial tone at this point. If you have long fingernails and fear that they might break while rotating the dial, use a rubber or pencil instead.

  • 4

    Continue to rotate the dial for the remaining digits that are part of the number that you wish to connect to.

  • 5

    Wait for a few seconds. The phone with the number that you just dialed will start ringing. Once the user picks up the phone, you will be connected to them. Start your conversation with them.

  • 6

    Once you are done talking, place the handset back on the cradle.

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