Verizon Auction Features Artifacts Spanning 100 Years of Telephone History

iStock
iStock

Before phones were computers, cameras, and gaming devices, they were, well, phones. An upcoming auction from Bruneau & Co. is transporting bidders back to that time with nearly 100 pieces of vintage telephone memorabilia.

“Verizon’s Telephone Pioneers Museum Collection Auction" features rare items spanning more than a century of telephone history. When The Telephone Pioneers of America was founded in 1911, it included some of the most influential figures in the telecommunications world, including Alexander Graham Bell. Today the group is better known as the Pioneers volunteer network, and members work to preserve artifacts related to the telephone.

Now, Pioneers is preparing to shut down two of its museums, and it's sending dozens of items to the auction block. Some of the most intriguing pieces going up for sale include the rotary phone Dwight Eisenhower used at his “Summer White House” in Newport, Rhode Island, and a floor board taken from Alexander Graham Bell's laboratory. Bidders will also find switchboards, vintage pay phone signs, and a variety of styles of old phones dating from the 1980s all the way back to the 19th century.

All items are listed at an estimated price of $10 to $10,000. You can bid on an artifact online or at the Bruneau & Co. auction house in Rhode Island on August 4.

Green rotary phone
Personal telephone of president Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Bruneau & Co

An early example of the first long distance double pole receiver.
An early example of the first long distance double pole receiver.
Bruneau & Co

AT&T official telephone of the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympics.
AT&T official telephone of the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympics.
Bruneau & Co

Magneto telephone, circa 1891.
Magneto telephone, circa 1891.
Bruneau & Co

Rare Western Electric 302 rose rotary phone, circa 1953.
Rare Western Electric 302 rose rotary phone, circa 1953.
Bruneau & Co

[h/t Gizmodo]

From Cocaine to Chloroform: 28 Old-Timey Medical Cures

YouTube
YouTube

Is your asthma acting up? Try eating only boiled carrots for a fortnight. Or smoke a cigarette. Have you got a toothache? Electrotherapy might help (and could also take care of that pesky impotence problem). When it comes to our understanding of medicine and illnesses, we’ve come a long way in the past few centuries. Still, it’s always fascinating to take a look back into the past and remember a time when cocaine was a common way to treat everything from hay fever to hemorrhoids.

In this week's all-new edition of The List Show, Mental Floss editor-in-chief Erin McCarthy is highlighting all sorts of bizarre, old-timey medical cures. You can watch the full episode below.

For more episodes like this one, be sure to subscribe here.

Mastodon Bones Have Been Discovered by Sewer Workers in Indiana

Thomas Quine, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Thomas Quine, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

When something unexpected happens during a sewer system project, the news is not usually pleasant. But when workers installing pipes in Seymour, Indiana stopped due to an unforeseen occurrence, it was because they had inadvertently dug up a few pieces of history: mastodon bones.

According to the Louisville Courier Journal, workers fiddling with pipes running through a vacant, privately owned farm in Jackson County happened across the animal bones during their excavation of the property. The fossils—part of a jaw, a partial tusk, two leg bones, a vertebrae, a joint, some teeth, and a partial skull—were verified as belonging to a mastodon by Ron Richards, the senior research curator of paleobiology for the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites. The mastodon, which resembled a wooly mammoth and thrived during the Ice Age, probably stood over 9 feet tall and weighed more than 12,000 pounds.

The owners of the farm, the Nehrt and Schepman families, plan to donate the bones to the Indiana State Museum in Indianapolis if the museum committee decides to accept them. Previously, mastodon bones were found in Jackson County in 1928 and 1949. The remains of “Fred the Mastodon” were discovered near Fort Wayne in 1998.

[h/t Louisville Courier Journal]

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