posters you see (at the bottom of this page) can be viewed in more detail by clicking on
the poster image. By clicking on the poster of your choice below, you will be taken to a
separate web page which contains a 640 pixel wide image of that poster (or an 800 pixel
wide image for the 1990 poster). Each poster page will allow you to view each of the
images close-up (at 600 DPI) by clicking on each of the images on the poster.
These posters were given away as public
relations and educational material by the Bell System. I received some
first-hand information from Ted Compton, a former Western Electric public
relations employee, on how these posters had their beginning:
"I wrote the copy for the first (1965) version of it. I was working at
Western Electric's PR department in New York at the time.
"The inspiration for the poster came from a co-worker whose job it was to
answer queries from theatrical and movie prop people regarding the correct
phone model to use with period sets. He wanted a single handout that would
make his job easier (the mother of invention is sloth). The project's
working title, reflecting its show-biz origins, was "Telephone Storyboard."
It grew from there into the nice, 4-color poster you reproduce on your site.
At the time, we (Western Electric) ran full-page ads in Life Magazine
(among other publications). We devoted one of the ads to the Telephone Story
poster and included a clip-out coupon readers could return for a free copy.
I was later told it had become the most-returned coupon Life had ever
Here is a sample of the coupon found in a 1965 magazine for ordering the Western
Electric version of the poster (courtesy of Peter
Click on the image above
Click on a poster above or click on text
of poster title below: