SHERMAN Tex. -- For the last seventeen years, Bob Stapp has been collecting to the beat of the dial tone. He owns the world's largest collection of working telephones that are for sale. Hundreds of phones line the walls of "Touch of Class Antique Mall" in Sherman, Texas.
What started out as a hobby so many years ago as become a business Stapp is so proud of, and he has a little guy named Mickey Mouse to thank.
"I bought one for my daughter back in 1976 when she was 10 years old. Mickey Mouse came out that year. She just had to have it as part of her collection. So I bought a Mickey, never realizing this would lead to another career later in life."
Stapp has had many jobs in his life. He joined the Navy right out of high school. Shortly after he was discharged, he went into the hardware business, then opened a riverboat business years later. But the one Stapp enjoys the most, is answering the call! In an accident, Mickey Mouse fell on the floor and broke an arm.
"I had some time on my hands, this was in the early 90's. I decided now is a good time to take the phone out, so I repaired the arm."
Stapp learned the hard way back then AT&T did not repair phones for you. Once you bought the communication device, it was yours.
"When I repaired it, I found a whole lot of other people that came out of the woodwork also wanted their Mickey's repaired as well. From that I got into repairing them and enjoyed bringing things back to life.""
It's not just Disney characters that Stapp is bringing back to life. He will even repair phones dating back to the late 1800s, when Alexander Graham Bell invented the wall phone. Stapp not only repairs the phone, but adds a new feature-the dial tone. Stapp loves for people to stop by and give the dial tone a little spin!
From the wall phone to the candlestick phone, Stapp is determined to entertain collectors of all ages.