Yesterday, to my surprise, was the 40th anniversary of the cellphone. On April 3, 1973, Motorola engineer Martin Cooper called his associates at Bell Labs, from his prototype cellphone, on a New York street, in front of dozens of reporters, to let them know he’d won their frantic race to have a working portable cellular telephone. It took almost ten years before the product actually made it to market, and when it finally did, early adopters would have to shell out the equivalent of almost $10,000 in today’s money.
As it turns out, however, this was not the first mobile phone, not by a long shot. To celebrate the anniversary, the CBC found a clip from their archives, demonstrating two CBC reporters trying out a car phone. In 1947.
It required the reporter to call a switchboard, and ask an operator to manually connect him. That was followed by a series of tones — surprisingly similar to an old phone-line modem connecting — that connected the call with the phone built into a car. I must admit, I was a bit surprised to learn that mobile phone technology had been around for that long. We tend to think of the cellphone as a fairly recent invention, but when we sit down and think about it, it’s actually been around for quite a while. A lot longer than we might think at first glance.
What other tidbits of technology have actually been around for a lot longer than they might seem?
[Image Source: BGR]
(I’ve embedded the CBC’s clip, for those who are interested. Hit the jump to hear it.)