The 10 Best Corded Phones
We spent 43 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. If you prefer having something more substantial than a cellphone to hold while you chat, or you just don't like needing to squint every time you dial out, an old-fashioned corded phone might be the answer. One of these selections will keep you connected with colleagues, clients, friends and family, even if you're technologically-impaired, the power goes out, or the local cell towers fail. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best corded phone on Amazon.
Two Cans And A String
One of the coolest things about corded telephones is that they can work on next to no power.
Without over-simplifying it, it really is just two cans and a string.
One of the coolest things about corded telephones is that they can work on next to no power. It's such a small amount of power, in fact, that it's supplied to you by your phone company.
Do they bill you for it? Probably, but their systems have so many battery generated fail safes that in the event that the power went out for days in your neighborhood, you'd still be able to reach out and touch someone.
This is all related to the fact that a telephone is an utterly simple device. Without over-simplifying it, it really is just two cans and a string.
Modern phones have incorporated everything from caller ID to video conferencing technologies, and the line between these older corded designs and the more futuristic applications is daily blurring.
But a phone still takes your voice, translates its vibration into a digital signal, sends it across a long stretch of copper wire (adult string), and translates it back into vibration through a small speaker.
These Are The Phones Of The 1990s
I am what you might call an early millennial. Some people define members of Generation X as kids born from the loins of baby boomers, and I technically fit that description, as well.
I guess you could say that I'm on the cusp.
That means that, unlike the stereotypical millennial, I spent most of my childhood playing outside, allowed to roam the town and the parks without a cellular leash tied around my neck.
Its numbers and rotary dial were built into where the propeller would turn.
When I finally did get a cell phone, it was in conjunction with the acquisition of my driver's license. That way, if I ran into trouble on the road, I could more easily seek help.
So, I have fond and storied memories of my youth and teen years spent talking on corded phones.
The first phone I remember growing up with was an old orange rotary phone in the shape of a propeller driven airplane. Its numbers and rotary dial were built into where the propeller would turn.
And, of course, I became a master at picking up the handset without being heard when my sister was already on the phone (sometimes with boys!). I was that kind of awesome brother. Such eavesdropping is impossible with the state of modern technology. Unless you're the NSA, that is.
It's that kind of memorable physical interaction with the world that I fear is disappearing from the lives of the next generation, as the consolidation of services for entertainment and communication reduces the variety of ways in which we experience life.
Grabbing one of these corded phones for your home isn't just about clinging to older technologies or riding the wave of a fad; it's about experiencing and investing in a mode of communication that will sorely be missed once it's gone for good.
Phoning It In For Over A Century
While it's assumed that the lover's telephone, made by stretching a length of string taut between two tin cans, dates back even further, the first known example of it comes to us from a British physicist in 1667.
It took more than 200 years from that time for the telephone as we know it today to be developed. Let that sink in for a moment: 200 years.
It took more than 200 years from that time for the telephone as we know it today to be developed.
200 year ago today, James Madison was the president of the United States. That year–1816–was known for the Summer that never was, an agricultural disaster that resulted in great poverty and hunger.
What I'm getting at is that a lot has changed in 200 years, and even more will change in the next 200. Yet, somewhere nestled among all that change there came about this method of communication that laid the groundwork for the revolution of the Internet, which is liable to be remembered as a great turning point for our species.
Could Alexander Graham Bell have foreseen any of this when he first spoke those famous words to his assistant? -- "Mr. Watson–come here–I want to see you."
Well, in 1906 he also said, "The day will come when the man at the telephone will be able to see the distant person to whom he is speaking."
Not bad, Alex. Not bad at all.
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