Yes kids, phones used to have wires and dials as this 1936 newsreel shows23
In 1936, Bell developed something new with a dial system that required rotary telephones. At the time, the fastest way for Bell to spread this information to Americans was to film a newsreel containing the information that the public needed to know. The film was played in theaters before the start of the feature.
Today, of course, Bell would have used emails, social media (like Twitter), and television commercials to get the word out. By the way, the rotary phones used electric pulses created by the actual dialing of the phone in order to read the numbers, and make the connection. That was replaced by touch-tone dialing in the 1970's.
It's hard to imagine that there was once a world without smartphones and tablets. When you think back to those days, it reminds you how much better our lives are today thanks to that handset in your pocket.
Now for a moment, imagine that it is 1936. You've read about this new rotary calling that will force you to dial phone numbers to make a call. It's the hottest new technology, and you are about to hear all about it just before Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times is about to start. Now go ahead and click on the video below!
source: AT&T, LaughingSquid via Gizmodo