Princess Telephone, Designed 1959; this example manufactured 1960
This is a telephone. It was designed by Henry Dreyfuss, Bell Telephone Laboratories and Henry Dreyfuss Associates and manufactured by Western Electric Manufacturing Company and made for (as the client) AT&T. It is dated Designed 1959; this example manufactured 1960 and we acquired it in 1990. Its medium is molded plastic, metal. It is a part of the Product Design and Decorative Arts department.
The Princess phone’s light weight, small footprint, decorative colors, light-up dial, and intriguing name were designed to appeal to women and teenage girls as a bedside accessory. The design team had observed users lying in bed with the heavy base of the Model 500 phone resting on their torsos; the smaller body of the Princess responded to this unintended use.
This object was featured in our Object of the Week series in a post titled Crossed Wires: The Gendered Technology of the Princess Phone.
It is credited
Gift of Elaine Evans Dee.
Its dimensions are
H x W x D: 9.8 x 21 x 9 cm (3 7/8 x 8 1/4 x 3 9/16 in.)
It has the following markings
On underside of metal baseplate: 701B / 11-60 (stamped in black ink); BELLSYSTEM / The Princess phone (in script) (stamped in metal). Molded in underside of plastic handset: Western Electric / MADE IN U.S.A. / G 3
Cite this object as
Princess Telephone, Designed 1959; this example manufactured 1960; Designed by Henry Dreyfuss, Henry Dreyfuss Associates and Bell Telephone Laboratories; USA; molded plastic, metal; H x W x D: 9.8 x 21 x 9 cm (3 7/8 x 8 1/4 x 3 9/16 in.); Gift of Elaine Evans Dee; 1990-1-1