Bundespost Communication Essen post office Rotary dial

Dial-operated telephone

The W48 (from German: Wählfernsprecher) was a dial-operated desktop telephone developed in 1948 in West Germany. It is made from the polymer Bakelite and was produced for the German Post (Deutsche Bundespost) in large quantities by various manufacturers (a.o. Siemens & Halske) until the 1970s.
Today the W48 is a popular collector’s item. Due to its former widespread usage it is regarded in Germany as THE classic telephone. In Germany, the production of rotary dials ended in the 1980s, because they have been replaced by push-button telephones.
One of its characteristic sounds is made by the rotary dial when a telephone number is dialed. For each digit of the number, the user puts a finger in the corresponding finger hole and rotates the dial clockwise until it reaches the finger stop. The user then pulls out the finger, and a spring in the dial returns it to the resting position.

Sound recordist: Konrad Gutkowski
Photographer: Konrad Gutkowski / Katharina Hoffmann
Video recordist: Konrad Gutkowski / Katharina Hoffmann


4.6 MB
26 s
2 (Stereo)
Sample rate:
Bit rate:
Bit depth:
44.1 kHz
1421 kb/s
16 bit
72 dB

Recorded on May 8, 2015
Historische Sammlung Polizei Essen
Creative Commons License