Vintage remnants

There are still a few mid-century relics popping up across the house. Amazing what you find when you’re on your hands and knees, scrubbing baseboard. These little mysteries hadn’t registered with me — until my sweet sister-in-law was crawling along, sponge in hand, right down at their level and she called me over to see.

Make a guess?

1965 portable phone jackHere are the guts of it, for the engineering geeks:

1965 portable phone jack interior

You do know I have major sleuthing tendencies with a side of research nerd, correct? I couldn’t resist a late-night google hunt. Guess what I found?

Fedtro portable telephone outlet Fedtro portable telephone outlet back

The 1964 Fedtro Portable Telephone Outlet. Make any phone portable! Use your one phone … in EVERY ROOM! No bathtub interruptions!

So … telephones used to be hard-wired into the wall. You couldn’t unplug them. This kit essentially let you wire a plug at the end of your phone cord, and install receptacle outlets anywhere in your house.

Fellow writers — how ’bout that benefit-driven copy, ‘eh? Oh, the effusive and bygone era of the exclamation mark. Fabulous!

(I found the photos of the mint-condition kits at Etsy store TomLaurus.)

By the way, I didn’t end there. I got super geeky and looked up some history on Fedtro. ¬†Among other electronics, they made TV tube testers, transistor radio parts, and the Powerhouse Control-O-Matic Deluxe Battery Charger — “Wonderful! Just plug in and charge!”

Have you ever lived in an old house? What’s the best piece of history you’ve found?