Telephone Archive

Phones have been accused of ruining romantic interaction and addicting us to mindless chatter, but neither of these accusations are new. Long before they made their way into our pockets, telephones were being blamed for all kinds of familiar crimes. Here are some of our favourite examples throughout history.

The Telephone Mania

The Oshkosh Northwestern | October 8th, 1897

Disease From Which Friends or Those Afflicted Suffer.

The telephone maniacs are usually men of leisure, who have small appreciation of the value of time, and the more leisure they have the less hope there is for them, so far as a cure is concerned. 


The Telephone Unmasked

The New York Times  | October 13th, 1877

It is time that the atrocious nature of the telephone should be fully exposed, and its inventors, of whom there are any quantity, held up to public execration.

When this nefarious instrument was first introduced, it was pretended that its purpose was an innocent one. We were told that the telephone would enable a man in New York to hear what a man in Philadelphia might say; and though it was difficult to understand why anybody should ever want to listen to a Philadelphian’s remarks…


Telephone Ear is a New Malady to Plague the Public

The Tuscaloosa News  | October 4th, 1929

In this day of many wrong numbers and strained ears, telephones are going to be responsible for a new disease which will ravage the phone-using public. 


They’re Daring Romeos Over the Wire

The Yiddish Daily Forward | October 6th, 1923

But Hunch-Backs When You See Them. Telephonitis, the Modern Disease, That Is As Yet Incurable

This is the Telephone Age. Naturally, the prevailing disease among the young generation is Telephonitis. It has reached the stage of an epidemic, and the axtitoxine for it has not been discovered as yet–unless it is the radio craze… 


Romance and the Telephone

The Sydney Morning Herald | December 29th, 1951

A French professor lately deplored the decline in the art of writing love-letters, which, he suggested, was due to the fact that lovers now transmit their cooings by telephone. He declared, moreover, that a telephone conversation was less satisfactory than the written word as a medium for the outpouring of the heart.


Phone Addiction Teen’s Defense of Helpless Ego

Reading Eagle | Septemer 28th, 1958

Adolescents who hang on the phone for hours on end are–of all things–defending their ego. And the bizarre positions–head on floor, feet on chair–and strange body movements during the telephone conversation are like a tranquilizer for the adolescent.


Telephone Addiction in the Air

Sarasota Herald-Tribune | October 24th, 1984

Now I am convinced that the American populace is divided into two groups, those who are and those who are not able to sever the telephone cord. One of the most serious, unreported, disabling, anti-social diseases in America today is that of telephone addiction.


U.S. Becoming Addicted to Telephone Chatter

The News-Journal  | December 2nd, 1989

Americans tell pollsters that they do not have enough time to cook, clean, see their children or just relax. But they are spending an ever-growing part of their day on the telephone.


Telephone Addiction Indicates Lonliness

The Dispatch  | March 19th, 1979

Please tell me what is wrong with people who must be on the telephone for hours at a time. Is it an illness?


Telephone Nuisance

The New York Times | November 1st, 1910

It is said that complaint has been made to the Public Service commission of the Second district of New York that the practice of making love over the telephone has proved a serious hindrance to the transaction of business in the city of Brooklyn.



Wireless Telephone For Wealthy Only

Gettysburg Times | July 10th, 1914

Rates So High Only Rich Can Talk Across Atlantic, Says Marconi.

The wireless telephone will be too expensive to become a public service, but it will be a boon to privileged persons.


Will Envisions Some Troubles of Television

Wisconson State Journal | April 9th, 1927

With this new telephone photography life has no privacy any more. Suppose your phone bell don’t work, somebody may be calling you up and looking you over and you not knowing it.


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