Tuesday, March 31, 2009

What is a telephone room?

As far as we can figure out, houses once had "telephone rooms" which were small rooms that were used exclusively to house a telephone and allowed people to make phone calls in private.

Some history:
The first prototype of the sound-proof phone booth was built in 1877. Mr. Watson, Alexander Graham Bell's trusty assistant, used a bunch of bed blankets around a box. He created the booth to prevent his landlady from listening in on his conversations.
(source: www.telephonetribute.com/telephonetrivia.html)

Our Telephone Room Gallery has a floorspace of four feet by two-and-a-half feet and we are guessing that it is original to the 1930 house. It contains a black Western Electric Model 554 rotary-dial wall telephone, some cupboards, shelving and a small window.

Here's Ellen and Chica in the Telephone Room Gallery (sans art - dogs and art don't mix!):

Here's another example of a telephone room:

"The main telephone for the house was kept in the telephone room, as during the 1930's telephones in full sight in living rooms were regarded as rather vulgar." www.carrickhill.sa.gov.au/house_telephone_room.html

You can still buy an original, restored Model 554 (minus the rotary-dial feature) for your own telephone room: www.oldphones.com/servlet/Detail?no=129

Lastly, some good telephone websites:

Friday, March 27, 2009

as seen in City Arts, April 2009

Congratulations to us: the April 2009 issue of Tacoma City Arts magazine features a quarter page blurb on the Telephone Room Gallery in "City Seen"! (see page 7)

"Operator? Art, Please
The world's second-smallest art gallery, the Telephone Room, has a big mission: artist-driven exhibits and programming that spark more personal conversations between artists and the public. Located in a private 1930s home, this twelve-square-foot gallery boasts a rotary phone with a cool vintage ring. Founders Heide Fernandez-Llamazares, Marty Gengenbach and Ellen Ito hope the nontraditional space will inspire artists to try something new or explore site-specific ideas. Sixteen artists participated in Hello, the inaugural exhibit, which runs through April 15. For upcoming Shrinky Dink-making with Jessica Bender, contact thetelephoneroom@gmail.com."

-- Virginia Bunker, City Arts Magazine, April 2009.