1920s Mobile Phone Is 'Long Lost Cousin' of iPhone 4G

Here's something you don't see every day: a 1922-vintage mobile phone. Pathé News has discovered a silent, black and white movie of this pre-historic device being demonstrated, somewhere in America. Let's take a peek at this (ahem) distant cousin of the iPhone 4G, in The Long View ...

The short movie (below) shows two ever-so-modern women making a call to an operator -- remember them? The operator seems barely able to contain her glee, and proceeds to play them a banging tune from her wind-up gramophone.

If you can't see the video, click here.

Hot diggity!

Imagine lugging this 150 cubic-inch box around. Doesn't exactly fit in your back pocket, and I dare say it would be pretty heavy and fragile: the technology of the day would have meant vacuum tubes and lead-acid accumulators.

You may wonder what the fire hydrant's for. Presumably, it was a way of grounding one end of the antenna. The other end would be the spiral of wire wrapped around the umbrella. There's convenient.

With an antenna that long, I'm guessing this didn't operate on the 850MHz band.

This came from Eve's Film Review , a "cinemagazine for women" in the roaring 20s and early 30s. I'm eternally grateful to British newspaper The Daily Telegraph for this weird and wonderful look back into the pre-history of cellphones.

Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can follow him as @richi on Twitter, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email: TLV@richij.com.

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This story, "1920s Mobile Phone Is 'Long Lost Cousin' of iPhone 4G" was originally published by Computerworld.

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