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Object Timeline

1934

  • Work on this object began.

1963

  • We acquired this object.

2013

2015

2021

Poster, Contact with the World, Use the Telephone, 1934

This is a Poster. It was designed by E. McKnight Kauffer. It is dated 1934 and we acquired it in 1963. Its medium is lithograph. It is a part of the Drawings, Prints, and Graphic Design department.


Kauffer was one of many artists who helped promote advances in global communication. For most of the 20th century, Britain’s General Post Office managed telephone calls in England based on the understanding that it was administering messages between a sender and a receiver. Here, Kauffer employs an oversize image of a telephone handset. The telephone is held up to a globe instead of an ear, to make “contact with the world.”

This object was donated by Mrs. Edward McKnight Kauffer. It is credited Gift of Mrs. E. McKnight Kauffer.

Its dimensions are

74.9 × 49.5 cm (29 1/2 × 19 1/2 in.)

It has the following markings

Stamp in purple ink, upper left: MADE IN ENGLAND

It is signed

Printed in script, in blue ink, lower center: E. McKnight Kauffer ‘34. [underlined]

It is inscribed

Printed in black ink, lower right: PRD 66; lower left: GPO [crowned and encircled]

Cite this object as

Poster, Contact with the World, Use the Telephone, 1934; Designed by Edward McKnight Kauffer (American, active England, 1890–1954); England; lithograph; 74.9 × 49.5 cm (29 1/2 × 19 1/2 in.); Gift of Mrs. E. McKnight Kauffer; 1963-39-62

In addition to Underground Modernist: E. McKnight Kauffer, this object was previously on display as part of the exhibition How Posters Work.

There are restrictions for re-using this image. For more information, visit the Smithsonian’s Terms of Use page.

For higher resolution or commercial use contact ArtResource.

If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18448461/ |title=Poster, Contact with the World, Use the Telephone, 1934 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=6 December 2021 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>