Western Electric "Princess" Phone

Western Electric "Princess" Phone

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Western Electric manufactured the pink “Princess” telephone beginning in 1959. The original Princess phone was model 701 that needed an external ringer; this phone is model 702B that was manufactured in September of 1969 with the ringer moved inside the base. Henry Dreyfuss, already popular for his design of the Western Electric 302 tabletop phone, designed the Princess telephone. As telephones became mainstream instruments of teen communication, phone manufacturers began designing specifically for the growing teenage market. Available in white, beige, pink, blue, and turquoise the Princess was designed to be a bedside phone for teenagers—specifically teenage girls. To facilitate bedside use, the phone took up only a third of the space of the standard desk phone, while containing a night light under the dial. These features were brought to the fore with the advertising slogan “It’s little, it’s lovely, it lights.”
Object Name
desk telephone
date made
Western Electric
Physical Description
plastic (overall material)
metal (overall material)
glass (overall material)
rubber (overall material)
overall: 4 1/2 in x 8 1/2 in x 3 1/2 in; 11.43 cm x 21.59 cm x 8.89 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
model number
Credit Line
from Kathleen G. Franz
See more items in
Work and Industry: Electricity
American Enterprise
American Enterprise
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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My father George Porter was very involved in the design of the Princess phone. I had one of the original models when I was a teenager. I recently gave it to my nephew. I remember my father going to New York to the designer to discuss the phone design. He could not fit the ringer into it. He worked for Bell Lab in Murray Hill N.J. I have a photograph of him with the first model. His name was supposed to be on the patent.He also had trouble fitting in the dial light. I have memories of him coming home from New York and being very frustrated. He was involved in many other designs during his more than 30 years at Bell Lab.

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