1941: If the Telephone Rings While You’re Away

I stumbled across this gem, which fall into the “my how things have changed” category of classic advice:

“If you wish to know if your telephone has rung during your absence, put a piece of paper and a piece of carbon paper between the clapper and the bell. A mark will be made on the paper if the bell has wrung.”


We have Janet D. Myers and her book 2002 Household Helps to thank for this. Originally published in 1933, my copy is from 1941. Although the first invention to record phone messages appeared as early as 1898, I suppose it’s doubtful that the 1935 version of the answering machine was in wide use when Ms. Myers reprinted her hints book.