Frank Hardy Made My Photographs Two

Southern Bell Wall Phone …

with 12 comments

These are several new photos that I have never posted before.  The one above shows this service technician installing a wall phone.  This was made in the early 1950’s, so this could have been for an ad showing the new ” wall phone ” from Southern Bell Telephone and Telegraph Company.  How many of you out there can remember when the phone company was named that?  And I am sure that black was the only color that it came in.  Here is one more photo …

Notice how the lady of the house is having to use the hand – crank on the side to power the telephone?  The marvels of new technology!  Next thing you know Southern Bell will be offering different colors in this wall phone, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves now.  This was before my time, so if anyone remembers these phones, please let us hear from you.  Thanks for looking …

Written by Frank Hardy

April 29, 2012 at 11:47 am

12 Responses

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  1. That installer is a HUNK. Wonder if he was an actor. I saw a few cute ones in my 30 years, but, not quite that good.



    September 30, 2013 at 3:32 pm

  2. This young man installing this telephone is Chester/Chet Sanders , sadly now deceased but quite the character in & out of the telephone business. After retiring from Southern Bell he went into the restaurant business selling mullet fillets to people who would never eat those ‘trash fish’………his two restaurants are still doing well on Navy Blvd & in Pace ….he would be justifiably proud of his accomplishments.


    Jim Warren

    August 19, 2012 at 10:44 pm

    • Thanks Jim … I am glad you see some people you know. I wrote a comment to someone earlier that Sam Love was very nice to my father the years that he was manager here for Southern Bell and I have a lot of negatives from the many jobs that he did for them. When I started working with my father in the 70’s, I photographed a great deal of work for them and it was always very interesting. Thanks again for your comments and please check back … Frank


      Frank Hardy

      August 21, 2012 at 4:56 pm

  3. Our first telephone was installed in 1953. It was a regular handset with a dial … not attached to the wall with a crank. Of course, our telephone number was just 4 numbers … which was 3334. In later years, Southern Bell added the HEmlock and then went straight to the numbers 433-3334. My parents still had the same number when they passed away in the late 1990’s.


    Gloria Mizell

    August 19, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    • I have seen numbers like these on old negative envelopes and it never dawned on me that there was a time that never had prefix codes. Thanks … FRank


      Frank Hardy

      August 22, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    • On N st. 1943-49, our number was 84724. I learned it early and never have forgotten it. alas, hard to remember what happened 10 min. ago now.



      September 30, 2013 at 5:23 pm

  4. I believe this is a picture of Chester Sanders installing the first telephone in Navarre about 1955 or 1956. This photo was made to promote the Navarre exchange because until this time there were no telephones in this area. The only way a call could be made the customer had to call the operator to be connected with whoever they were calling the operator would get a signal and say “number please”. I began working at Southern Bell in late 1955 and worked for 32 years until retirement. I believe this photo was published in the Pensacola News Journal.


    Lenora Holman

    August 19, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    • My dad used to take a lot of photos for Southern Bell during all of those years … Thanks – Frank


      Frank Hardy

      August 22, 2012 at 3:02 pm

  5. Until the 1970’s, you could not own a telephone. I recall that it was illegal to hook up your own phone to the Southern Bell network. All phones were owned by Southern Bell, and you rented them from the phone company. The upside to renting the phone was that repairs to the phone or the phone wiring in your house were free. The early phones I remember from the 60’s were rotary dial phones. My parents had two desk models, while my grandmother had one that hung on the wall in her hallway.


    Mark Reed

    August 19, 2012 at 5:52 am

    • My parents rented rotary dial phones from the phone company until around 2006. My father paid $15 a month to rent them and when I finally convenced him to get rid of them, I had to mail them back to the phone company. You might think after renting them for almost 50 years, they would have said don’t worry about it, but I had to ship them back Bell South. Frank


      Frank Hardy

      August 22, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    • I started work for Southern Bell in 1971, by the time I retired 30 yrs later it had changed to Bellsouth and at the end AT&T. I, too, had the rented phones, one that I paid pretty hefty fee for, it looked like an old French phone, off white and gold. When the Co. stopped renting the phones, they sent employees the “deeds” to our phones. Not sure they still work, but the pretty one is in a guest room just for show. Others in attic.



      September 30, 2013 at 3:29 pm

      • Thanks for the comment … my parents used rotary dial phones up until the mid-2000’s and paid a monthly “rent” fee for for at least fifty-five years. When I contacted AT&T to return the phones, I had to go through 4 or 5 people before someone could tell me what to do with the phones. AT&T ended up sending me several boxes to return them in , and I had to pay the postage! I also had to pay an electrician to come in and disconnect the phones from the wall … there was no plug-in when my parent’s had the phones installed back in 1959 when they built the home in Cordova Park. Thanks for commenting and please check back … Frank


        Frank Hardy

        October 1, 2013 at 7:58 am

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