Friday, August 9, 2013

Empire of North Carolina Flintstones Phone

Today we have a nifty '60s telephone toy from Empire of North Carolina. This cleverly designed Flintstones phone is made to look as if it were carved from rock with a horn handset. The phone is made from plastic and would have come equipped with a small metal strap underneath which, when struck by a gear attached to the dial on top, would have made a clicking noise. You'll notice the 'clicker' on my sample is gone, neatly removed no doubt by a parent driven mad by the noise! The handset is adorned by character images of Fred, Dino, and Wilma on one end, and 'The Flintstones' in large letters on the other end. The dial doesn't have numbers on it but rather images of other characters just underneath. I wonder why toy makers didn't come out with more Flintstones gadgets? There were so many cool designs it seems a shame that more weren't offered.

One of the things I've noticed about the 'stuff' making up the world of the Flintstones is that the cartoonist's designed nearly everything - from gadgets, to furniture, to houses - to look as if it were carved from rock. In this Stone Age world wood, and to a lesser extent rope, play minor supporting roles. Just an observation but one which caused me to put a halt on a planned sitting area in The Cave (aka garage). Why? Because during those occasional Internet search forays for Flintstones-styled furniture I only came up with wooden furniture pawned off as 'Flintstones style'. The plan was to have a small end table and perhaps a chair. The end table was to have a lamp, the phone, some of the mugs, and other Flintstones type stuff on it. I thought at the time it would make for a really nifty display or even a place to kick back and read hobby magazines. But alas, there were no lamps to be found other than just regular lamps having lampshades decorated with images from the cartoon or cutesy little figures surrounding the base. Tables were simply gnarly wood tables with high-gloss finishes. The seating could have been doable using a small easy chair with a gray slip cover to fake the rock look. Nope, in order to pull this off you've got to have the proper 'look'. Tables made from would but carved and painted to look like rock would have been the ticket. Lamps too could have been made this way or perhaps made using casting resin. In any case, the plan for a Flintstones style sitting area is kaput and only a few collector pieces are left to remind me of this failed plan. Oh well, as for our phone today - Enjoy!

In the photo below notice the attachment hole for the clicker and the gear it would strike against.