Download a Genuine 1920s Ringtone


Image: Wikipedia, Genevieve Clark using a candlestick phone.

The most common service call for telephone technicians back in the 1920s was to muffle the obnoxious sound of the ringer. Why were those bells so loud? The phone company didn’t make money until you lifted the receiver. It was in their interest for you to answer the phone.

Now you can have the genuine, ear splitting sound of a 1920s era telephone ringer box on your shiny new iPhone or Android device. I recorded the sound of my Western Electric 534A ringer box and turned it into a ringtone that you can download here for $1.29 in the iTunes store. I also uploaded a free version that you can download here as an mp3. If you download the free version you can turn that audio file into a ringtone using these directions.

If the ringtone proves popular I’ll make a Western Electric 500 version and, perhaps, turn the sound of hungry cats into a ringtone that is sure to disrupt your next meeting.

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  1. Thank you for the nostalgia!

    When we replaced our old reliable phone with a new-fangled thing with push buttons, I didn’t know that the new one wouldn’t actually “ring”. Several times that first day I heard odd chirping, as if a squirrel had gotten loose in the house, but did not realize until I’d missed a half-dozen calls that it had been the gosh-darned new phone.

    I still miss the old ring sound.

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