The slimline Princess Rotary Phone was first manufactured by the Bell System in 1959. These were unique for their time. The phone was compact and made the ideal companion for use in a bedroom as it also incorporated a light up dial which was terrific for use as a night light. The slogan commonly associated with the phone is “It’s Little, It’s Lovely, It Lights”. The base of the phone included the dial and the handset was an additional item attached to the base by way of a curly telephone cord. The phone was primarily marketed toward women and teen girls and was made available in a variety of colors: , red, yellow, white, black, moss green, beige, ivory, light blue, grey, and turquoise.
Henry Dreyfuss was the industrial designer who first introduced the vintage princess phone. He worked with engineers located at Bell Labs to design and produce the original princess.
The princess phone was unique because it required an external electric transformer which was used to power the lighted dial. In it’s original design Western Electric had no ringer that was small enough to fit inside the case of this trim phone, so it was necessary to have an external ringer wired to the princess phone.
Later models of the princess rotary dial phone were manufactured that did not require the external transformer or ringer.
The Trimline telephone is often confused with the Princess telephone because they both have a slim, trim design. However, the Trimline has the rotary dial in the handset and the vintage princess phone has the dial in the base.
Today, a perfectly restored Princess Rotary Phone can sell for high amounts at eBay and other online auction services.