Antique phones keep collector connected

A former telephone company worker has amassed more than 1,000 antique phones.

John Taylor looked at his wall of telephones and pointed to a dusty old box.

“This is a 1910 Stromberg Carlson metal wall phone,” he said with a smile.

The 79-year old knows every phone by name, make and model. He’s a conversation connoisseur who made his living helping others connect. For over 32 years, the Seminole resident worked for GTE.

The phone business was his calling.

“What they did is they would put them away in here and then pull the phone out when they were ready to use it,” he said, describing the way candlestick phones were preserved in the early days of telephone communication.

There are about 1,000 phones in Taylor’s home. The size of his collection seems huge until he explains that he left Texas for Florida a year and a half ago with 5,000 pieces. John estimates that he has over 50 varieties of phones. Some pre-date 1890.  

“I just love the way they look as much as anything else. The old phones have a mystique to them,” he said.

The collection brings him joy the way his job did for over three decades. 

More feature stories with Bobby Lewis On The Road.

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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