Telephone, Model No. 302 Designer: Henry Dreyfuss (American, 1904–1972)
Manufacturer: Western Electric (American, 1869–1996)

introduced 1937

American Decorative Arts

On view, 3rd floor, Modern and Contemporary Art and Design

Industrial designer Henry Dreyfuss worked with Bell Telephone Laboratory's engineers beginning in 1930 and stressed the need for unifying equipment design and modifying the aesthetic of the telephone. As a result, the model no. 302 was a marked improvement over its predecessor, the 1927 model no. 202, in both form and function. The newer design incorporated the same finger wheel but balanced the weighty transmitter/receiver handset with a sturdy rectangular base. Dreyfuss pays homage to a 1930 Bakelite plastic phone designed by Jean Heiberg for the L. M. Ericsson Company of Stockholm in the upper body's inward curve, a detail that was dropped from later designs. Along with Bell telephones, other works, including Hoover vacuums, John Deere tractors, and the Big Ben clock, have become recognizable Dreyfuss designs.


Die-cast metal, Bakelite, and enamel


5 5/8 × 8 3/4 × 7 1/2 in. (14.3 × 22.2 × 19.1 cm)

Credit Line

Yale University Art Gallery

Accession Number



20th century


Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of records is ongoing.



Hollywood Phones, Boulder, Colo., by 1999
  • John Stuart Gordon et al., A Modern World: American Design from the Yale University Art Gallery, 1920–1950 (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2011), 305, no. 210.
  • "Acquisitions, 1999," Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (2000): 162.
Object copyright
Additional information


"1 / ABC2 / DEF3 / GHI4 / JKL5 / MNO6 / PRS7 / TUV8 / WXY9 / OPERATOR0," printed counterclockwise in black and red on whie background underneath finger wheel; "H1," painted in red on back inside face of casing; "BELL SYSTEM / MADE BY / Western Electric [italics] / F1" in square molded into underside of handset

Technical metadata and APIs


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