Landline “Phone” Telephone, Dead at Age 141

In remembrance of a family workhorse and one-time communications celebrity

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landline telephone
<a href="" target="_blank"> flickr / Daniel Oines </a>

Landline Telephone, most recently of that spot on the kitchen wall where the weird, tiny square outlet is, passed away quietly this month at the age of 141. The father of cell phone and dial-up-modem and the grandfather of smartphone, Landline was pronounced dead by a report from the Center for Disease Control showing prevalence dropping below 50 percent in American households. Born February 14, 1876, the child of Telegraph and Two Cans with a String Tied Between Them, Landline began powering person-to-person communication nationwide at the young age of 20. Some 30 years later, Landline met the American family. The two fell in love and moved in together.

Landline was known as a workhorse, equally as adept at conveying gossip as much as hard news of births, deaths, and national tragedies. But that work ethic was also paired with Landline’s deep sense of art and style. Landline’s look changed continuously over its lifetime, from an elegant candlestick look in the 1930s to the mid-century, bakelite, single rotary and handset design that defined its image for much of its life.

Landline experienced peak relevance in the late 1970s and 80s when it ditched the rotary dial for the punchier push-button look. By then, its fame had already spawned hundreds of thousands of books that saw annual publishing and distribution to homes. It also left its single location in the American household, literally extending into multiple rooms in a single home, including the bathroom. Like many things in the flash and excess of the 80s Landline began flirting with extreme styles. Looks included hamburgers, ducks, and any number of cartoon characters and odd shapes.

Also at this time, Landline became the illegitimate parent of Cellular “Cell” Phone. Cell, shared its parent’s penchant for flashy styles and the two seemed to share parallel paths while also developing a offspring/parent rivalry. Landline even became cordless in the 90s to share Cells wild sense of freedom.

By 2010 Landline began having relationship difficulties with the American family. Neglect caused Landline to recede into hidden recesses of the home where it was largely ignored by anyone other than grandparents and telemarketers. By December of 2016, over half of Americans were no longer married to Landline, with up to 70 percent of people living in apartments deciding it was unnecessary.

Services for Landline will be held at garage sales and Landfills every day for the next 10 years.

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