Candlestick Phone Goes Modern.

[Adam Ben-Dror] recently tipped us off to a project that he worked on recently. In this build he gutted an old candlestick-style phone and added modern technology to make it work as a cordless phone. We really liked this project because he married together new and old technology into an elegant package. There are a few hacks that he had to perform to get this to work. One was converting the rotary pulses into DTMF tones. The other was making the cordless phone that he gutted recognize when the phone was on or off of the hook.

Details of his build after the break.

[Adam] writes:

“The cordless candlestick consists of three main components. The 90 year old candlestick phone itself, a Doro 850 2.4Ghz cordless telephone and a Pulse to DTMF converter by

The original single throw single pole ‘hook’ switch in the neck of the candlestick phone was replaced with a double throw double pole micro switch. This switch is used to control a small circuit that ‘presses’ the green/answer button on the doro when the earpiece is lifted and ‘presses’ the red/end button when the receiver is put down. I kept it as simple as possible using just 2 relays and 2 capacitors to create a kind of timed switch circuit.

When the receiver is lifted, 5v runs through one of the capacitors that is connected in series to the coil of one of the relays. This triggers the relay. The switch side of the relay is connected in parallel to the original answer button on the doro – the relay “presses” the green/answer button. As soon as the capacitor is charged (around 1 second) its resistance goes high and cuts power to the relay which closes again – “unpressing” the answer button. When the receiver is put down the same thing happens but with the other capacitor and relay, which are used to ‘press’ the red/end button. At the same time the other capacitor is discharged, ready to be charged again.
– Hide quoted text –

The microphone and speaker from the doro were removed and the leads coming from the microphone and speaker of the candlestick phone were soldered in their place.

A small dc power socket was added to the base of the candlestick phone for charging.

A “rotatone” from oldphoneworks is installed in the base, connected to the dial and wired in parallel to the microphone on the doro. It takes the pulse signal generated by dial, converts it to a DTMF tone and sends that into the microphone to dial a number.”

10 thoughts on “Candlestick Phone Goes Modern.

    1. IMHO it would be wrong…. As a person who instantly identified with the steampunk aesthetic and style quite a few years before I stumbled across the term, I feel that in the last few years steampunk has been reduced to pseudo-craft.

      To me, steampunk typically means taking a hacksaw to some beautiful antique with moving parts, and making it a useless prop in an attempt to make money on ebay when the antique could have fetched more money without all the elbow grease.

      Barring the work of VonSlatt, Datamancer and the few true artisans, tinkerers, and engineers who actually get the point, I’ve noticed that creating steampunk objects does not usually give the object any practical use, but rather, diminishes it.

      To me, the candlestick mod does not line up with the mainstream steampunk trend for one reason: This object retains it’s original purpose and form and has only been updated for technological relevance… this is simply your classic retrofit. A steampunk phone, on the other hand, would be the Doro + Rub’n Buff + Epoxy + a mainspring and some brass nubbins for good measure.

      Now, I’ve seen some pretty slick phones that may be parallel to what might occur in the world of Verne, but those are so far advanced from the typical horde of junk labeled “steampunk” as a searchable item that I just don’t think that those well-executed pieces(see remarks about VonSlatt and Datamancer) should be lumped in with all the rest. And this piece deserves to be given a higher status than steampunk can allow, as well. The brand is muddied. Just my honest opinion.

      1. Wow, a put-down of steampunk that is actually thoughtful, well-founded, and agreeable. Well done, sir.
        Only, I do note that Datamancer himself uses the title “steampunk contraptor”.
        In any case, I fear your point is similar to the hacker/cracker niggle: absolutely correct yet futile by overwhelming opposition.

  1. @Charlie H said:

    “A steampunk phone, on the other hand, would be the Doro + Rub’n Buff + Epoxy + a mainspring and some brass nubbins for good measure.”

    So Steampunk is really more about taking something new and making it old as opposed to here where something old was made to function like something new?

    I’m asking honestly.

Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.