“It’s Little! . . It’s Lovely! . . . It Lights!:” The Princess Telephone

by Kristine Schmucker, HCHM Curator

For a brief time on Tuesday the museum was without telephone service.  It made us aware of how something we take for granted today, was once brand new technology.

Telephone operators, ca. 1900, unidentified. HCHM Photo Collection.

Telephone operators, ca. 1900, unidentified. HCHM Photo Collection.

In our collection we have examples of telephones over the years.  Below, Myra is with two phones, a black wall phone and a Princess model phone.


Myra with two examples from our collection.

One is known as the “Princess.” The Princes was made by Western Electric Co from 1959-1994.


Princess Bell Telephone, 1959. HCHM #91.22.51


The Princess model was the Bell System’s first try at consumer marketing.  The target audience was girls and women.


 Telephones were no longer just for the main hallway of the house or purely utilitarian. The public wanted telephones that fit the decor of the room and teenagers wanted to talk to their friends in the privacy of their own bedrooms, not the main hallway of the house.


The Princess phone was the first model designed from a marketing perspective instead of an engineering perspective. Originally the phone was available in any color but black, which was added in 1963.



  • http://www.frillfreephones.com/prphhi.html
  • http://www.collectorsweekly.com/telephones/princess