Surprise! A classic pull-toy phone that
really works. By Frank E. Yost
I remember making pretend phone calls on my
Fisher-Price Chatter Telephone when I was 7 or 8,
and wondering if it was possible to turn it into a
real phone. That question stayed with me, and when
I saw a Chatter Telephone and a Crosley Princess
Telephone recently at Target, I knew the answer was
yes. I brought them home and made it work, and it
was easier than I expected.
Disassembling the Chatter and Crosley phones
was easy with screwdrivers (Figures A and B).
The Chatter’s dial pops off when you tap out the
pin underneath with a hammer and nail. To clear
room inside the Chatter, I used a Dremel and
X-Acto knife to shave the bell and clicker mounts
off the inside of the bottom cover. Examining
the phone’s workings, I saw that there were 6
elements I needed to fit into the Chatter. Here’s
how I handled each.
154 Make: Volume
I used a paper template to mark and cut a 3" hole in
the Chatter, centered over the dial’s sticker. The rest
of the sticker I peeled off. I temporarily taped the
Crosley dial in place in the 3" hole, turned it all upside
down, and glued the dial in around its circumference.
For reinforcement (optional), I Dremeled off the part
of the Crosley’s shell that held the dial in back, filed
its edges, and screwed it back on using the original
screws (Figure C, page 156).
Later, I had to grind down the bottom inside edge of
the dial, to give the Chatter’s eyes room to bob up and
down. As a finishing touch, I removed the Fisher-Price
sticker under a hair dryer, and affixed it to the new dial.
With a knife, I cut holes for the jacks in the Chatter’s
base just next to the Fisher-Price logos on the right
Photography by Frank E. Yost