Too Much Screen Time? Landline Phones Offer a Lifeline.

First came the rhinestone-encrusted rotary. Then the cherry-red lips. After that, the cheeseburger.

By last summer, Chanell Karr had amassed a collection of six landline phones. Her most recent, an orange Trimline originally made as a promotional item for the 1986 film “Pretty in Pink,” was purchased in June. Though she only has one phone — a more subdued VTech model — hooked up, all are in working order.

“During the pandemic I wanted to disconnect from all of the things that distract you on a smartphone,” said Ms. Karr, 30, who works in marketing and ticketing at a music venue near her home in Alexandria, Ky. “I just wanted to get back to the original analog ways of having a landline.”

Once a kitchen staple, bedside companion and plot device on sitcoms such as “Sex and the City” and “Seinfeld,” the landline phone has all but been replaced by its newer, smarter wireless counterpart.

In 2003, more than 90 percent of respondents to a survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said they had an operational landline in their homes. As of June 2021, that number — which includes Internet-connected phones and those wired the old-fashioned way (via copper lines running from a home to a local junction box) — had dropped to just over 30 percent.