From horns to mobiles: Museum of Telephone History in Moscow

From horns to mobiles: Museum of Telephone History in Moscow

3 minutes to read

Small and cozy Museum of Telephone History in Moscow possesses a wonderful collection demonstrating the history of telephone communication, from horns to mobiles. You can see the devices used for communication before the telephone was invented, for example, Morse system telegraphs. Several boards on the walls with old photos and short stories inform us about the telephone inventors and landmark events. And there is no doubt that you’d see all kinds of desk and wall-mounted telephones from different countries, as well as the first mobiles.

Photo © credits to Museum of Telephone History
Photo © credits to Museum of Telephone History

When one person was talking, the other had to remain silent

The first telephones had only one part used both as a microphone and a hearing device. When one person was talking, the other had to remain silent and listen – a useful rule for fruitful conversation. Initially, the telephones did not have a ringer.

Photo © credits to Museum of Telephone History
Photo © credits to Museum of Telephone History

Some telephones had nick-names

In the collection of the Museum of Telephone History, you can see the telephones with different designs. Some of them remind of musical instruments or flowers, some have the legs like lions paws, and others are decorated with ornaments. Some telephones had nick-names according to their design: Skeleton, Spider, Eiffel Tower, or Clover. One was called Coffee-Grinder, because of its cylindrical casing and a distinctive rotating handle on the side reminds of the household coffee grinding device.

Photo © credits to Museum of Telephone History. "Coffee-Grinder"
Photo © credits to Museum of Telephone History. "Coffee-Grinder"

A telephone operator had to have long hands

In the museum, you can not only see a telephone exchange and learn how it worked but also try to work as a telephone operator and connect the subscribers. Your employability can also be checked with a stick: the main specialty of telephone girls was not their appearance or sweet voice, but their hands had to be long enough. They were not allowed to marry, otherwise, the thoughts about cooking dinner could distract them from work and lead to mistakes.

To dial a number is real fun

In the museum, you can see the first dial phone and you can to dial a number, it’s real fun. A dial phone was invented by Almon Strowger, who lost his funeral business because the telephone operator forwarded all the telephone queries to his competitor. So, he was angry, the legend has it, and created a device for making the direct calls between two persons without a telephone operator’s participation.

Among the exclusive items of the Museum of Telephone History in Moscow there is a telephone with a lightning rod, an explosion-proof telephone for the mines with earsplitting ring sound, a ship telephone device specially made for “Titanic”, a telephone for secret communications, a desk telephone belonged to Alexandra Fedorovna, the wife of the last Russian tsar Nicholas II, and many others.

You can complete your wonderful journey from horns to mobiles with a cup of coffee in the museum café.

Museum of Telephone History
Museum of Telephone History
Садовая-Кудринская ул., 19 строение 2, Москва, Россия, 123001

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The author

Victoria Derzhavina

Victoria Derzhavina

I live in Moscow. I am passionate about travelling, history, nature and architecture. I worked as a tourist guide in Moscow and other Russian cities for several years. I get inspiration visiting new places and like sharing it with others.

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