LISTEN: Madison Man's Vintage Telephone Collection Still Works

Feb 24, 2014

Pat Carew's favorite piece in his telephone collection is his Western Electric candlestick phone circa 1900 (left).
Credit Gianofer Fields

Most of us want the latest and greatest in technology and so consign our old telephones to the recycle bin once the newer models come out - but not Madison's Pat Carew.

A childhood trip to a switchboard center turned Carew on to telephones.

Another prized piece of Pat Carew's telephone collection is his still-operating switchboard (center).
Credit Gianofer Fields

Carew says he was so young when he attempted to buy the first piece of his collection, the clerk refused to sell it to him and he had to get a parent to approve the purchase.

Now his collection, which features only Wester Electric, Bell Telephones, begins with a candle stick phone circa 1900 and ends with advent of the Princess phone in the 1970s.

Gianofer Fields studies material culture at UW-Madison and is the curator of "It's a Material World" - that project is funded by the Chipstone Foundation, a decorative arts foundation whose mission is preserving and interpreting their collection, as well as stimulating research and education in the decorative arts.