A modern-day phone F. Scott Fitzgerald would love

Pyle Audio goes back to the future with antique-style rotary telephones that let you toggle between your landline and smartphone like it's the Jazz Age.

Leslie Katz Former Culture Editor
Leslie Katz led a team that explored the intersection of tech and culture, plus all manner of awe-inspiring science, from space to AI and archaeology. When she's not smithing words, she's probably playing online word games, tending to her garden or referring to herself in the third person.
  • Third place film critic, 2021 LA Press Club National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards
Leslie Katz
2 min read
This iPhone could have belonged to a flapper. Pyle Audio

Ever wish you lived in the '20s so you could go to parties at Jay Gatsby's house and call your friends up on rotary phones to tell them how much fun you had doing the Charleston? We're still working on a time machine to get you to Gatsby's mansion, but Pyle Audio can help with the antique phone.

Antique dials get a modern turn. (Click to enlarge.) Pyle Audio

The company's out with a new line of retro-style home telephones that also serve as smartphone docks.

The four classically designed phones, handcrafted from real wood and adorned with brushed copper parts, have buttons for answering landline and smartphone calls and easily switching between the two. They also have standard phone features like last-number redial, flash function, and ringer high/low selection.

I was a bit confused at first by Pyle's claim that the products "eliminate up to 99 percent of the radiation absorbed from direct cell phone use." No, it's not that rotary dials possess some heretofore unknown radiation-absorbing properties. It's just that you'll be using your cell phone without holding it to your head. Hmmm... The phones are compatible with any mobile device with a 3.5mm jack.

A plethora of recent retro gadget accessories suggest a nostalgia for eras past. There are, among other everything-old-is-new-again products, the Tworse Key, which lets you tweet in Morse Code; the iTypewriter, a prototype iPad dock that lets you type on your tablet like it's 1957; and the uber-retro nonelectric iPhone dock that boosts sound with an old gramophone horn.

The phones in Pyle's retro collection started shipping today, with suggested retail prices ranging from $89.99 to $109.99. Actually, make that long greens.

Pyle Audio