The “Phone Thing” by Bell System is a time schedule assembled from two sliding cardboard wheels, to help estimate long distance charges based on mileage and to determine when the cheapest phone rates were. According to the Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments, it was produced by FlexiGroup Inc. in 1977. The magazine advert shown above is from 1979.
Do you know when you can save 35%, or even 60%, on out-of-state phone calls? “Phone Thing” has all the answers when it comes to saving money on direct-dial calls. Just put it all together, check “Phone Thing” before you make your next call, and start saving every time you reach out and touch someone.
The TCI Library has a similar ad from 1977, with a male model, see below. The ads came accompanied by an insert with a copy of the “Phone Thing”, to be assembled by the reader.
The display typeface for both the ad and the insert is Jakob Erbar’s Koloss. The copy in the former is set in Plantin Bold and Italic. The instructions and the labels on the wheels are set in various styles of Eurostile, including some infrequently seen condensed weights.