For those who don’t know, a rotary telephone is an older type of telephone that was commonly used before the advent of digital technology. It was the primary means of communication for many people from the mid-20th century up until the 1980s.
The phone itself was typically made out of hard plastic or metal and had a round dial on the front with numbers from 0 to 9 arranged in a circle. To make a call, you would lift the receiver off the hook and then use your finger to rotate the dial to the number you wanted to call. Each number had its own small metal finger stop that you had to rotate past before moving on to the next number. When you were finished dialing the number, you would release the dial and it would spin back to its original position.
One thing that might seem strange to a teenager is that you had to physically dial the number you wanted to call using the rotary dial. There were no buttons to push like on a modern phone. This meant that it took longer to dial a number, and you had to be careful not to accidentally misdial a number by rotating the dial too far or not far enough.
Another difference between a rotary phone and a modern phone is that there was no screen to display the number you were calling or who was calling you. You had to rely on your memory or a phone book to remember phone numbers, and if someone called you, you had to answer the phone without knowing who was on the other end until they introduced themselves.
Overall, rotary phones were a very different way of communicating compared to modern phones. They were simpler in some ways, but also required more effort and attention to use.