In the 1940s and 50s, ornamental styles gave way to the clean, uncluttered functionalism we admire today. The Tenor and Alto telephones are exemplary pieces of the midcentury era, showcasing classic, sleek, architectural styles.
The Tenor telephone is a Western Electric 302 from 1949, known for its curving profile and classic handset. The 300 series marks the first time that the ringer bell was incorporated into the telephone’s base.
In the shape of the Tenor, we can see the dialogue between the designers and engineers: the language of sculpture and the constraints of manufacture. The result is architectural and elegant. A few sweeping lines define the form, and no other adornments distract the eye. Cast out of the tougher Bakelite, contemporary Tenite, and a heavy steel base plate, the Tenor telephone was built to last a century and feels solid enough to survive two.
The body has been carefully cleaned and the original glossy finish restored, leaving a few hints at the true age of the phone. We have preserved the original dial, with painted numbers on a porcelain face. A custom fabric-wrapped cord replaces the damaged original but retains the style.
As with all of our telephones, the microphones are physically disconnected when the phone is hung up, allowing you to converse privately and call Alexa into the conversation as you choose. Bluetooth connectivity is available, allowing you to send the audio to an external speaker when playing music or setting timers.