Bill George's vintage phone collection

Air Force veteran ready to donate vintage phone collection

Bill George enlisted in the Air Force in 1965 and was assigned to the 325th Fighter Wing at McChord Air Force Base, Washington, in the communications career field. Little did he know at the time that his job assignment as a telephone repairman would lead him to careers with Pacific Telephone, AT&T, and SBC and pique his interest in vintage phones.

211 Comm phone

Today, more than a dozen telephones, including a circa 1890 candlestick phone, are part of the vintage phone collection on display in the home he shares with his wife. “All of the phones are original and have not been altered or modernized. When we lived in California, I had an old oak box phone hanging on the wall and connected to our home phone line. We could hold the earpiece to our ear and talk into the mouth piece.”

Birth and Babyhood of the Telephone

Bill says that “unserviceable phones used to be destroyed when customers returned their rentals, which limits the number of older sets around to be collected.” Now, after decades of rummaging around antique shops, searching eBay, and stumbling across a few phones here and there, Bill is hanging it up and donating the assortment to a group or organization that will appreciate the rich history. At this time in their lives, Bill and his wife are downsizing and trying not to collect anything other than good times. And he wants others to benefit from his collection, which provides “something people [can] see and touch as they marvel at just how much American ingenuity has changed our lives,” from operator-assisted calling to today’s smart phone capabilities.

Video communication machine from 1970s

Video communication machine from 1970s

To find out more about George’s collection, email him at

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