Mobile phones

… in the late 1940s!
I think it’s interesting to see the bulky equipment that they needed to install in cars in order to be able to make mobile calls. This Bell Labs film runs about 10 minutes.

(489) The Dial Comes To Town - YouTube

What you linked was a 20 minute video on the “New” rotary dial phones replacing the old operator assisted phones, not car-mounted mobile phones.

Funny nonetheless. My Great-Grandmother told me she refused to give up her candlestick phone for so long the phone company gave her a black desktop dial phone for free so they could remove the operator exchange. Apparently everyone else paid for theirs, or so I was told.

Maybe this one was the one you intended?

You are correct.
By the time that I copied the URL, the next video had already been cued-up and I wound-up copying the URL for the wrong video.


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I have a lovely candlestick phone that has a rotary dial on it.

I still have a wall mounted rotary phone but the landline is not connected.
The temptation to connect the landline back has been pretty strong at times. At least it was always functional.

The cell service here kind of sucks and has for quite awhile. Until last night the prior 3 days there was no calling or texting available at all. Don’t know if it’s wind turbine interference or what but others have cell issues also.

my mom has a rotary phone downstairs thats hooked up and works. never used though. she uses the wireless phones. but she does not want a cellphone for some reason. stuck in her ways I guess. she is 90 and not going to change. lol

We still have a “landline” because my wife wants it but it is a VOIP, or internet phone.

I haven’t paid any of the remnants of Ma Bell for about 20 years for that service.

Our cell providers are split between 2 large networks so we have an alternative if one network goes down.

Notice how “compact” those old mobile phone radios are in the trunk of the car. Like 2 breadboxes. Bet they get HOT with the vacuum tubes inside.

I old enough to remember my parents having the wood wall phone with the crank on the side to ring up the operator and it was a party line.
My landline is unplugged, but I have used it to find my cell phone.

We got a $10 q month discount if we kept our landline from ATT. Crazy guy ripped out all the phone lines going to a monitering station, wanted to get it reconnected, sorry we do not do land lines anymore,

I have a 1950 Harley ex cop bike with most of the cop equipment except the radios. Those radios are 6 volt vacuum tube units. One was a transmitter mounted in a rectangular box on the rear. The other is a receiver mounted on the opposite side. The speaker and mike were mounted between the handlebars.

To receive a call or to transmit required the cop to rev the engine to about 2000 RPMs so the 6 volt generator would wheeze out enough power to operate the radio. Imagine sitting on a revved up HD and trying to hear anything through a tiny speaker that resembled one from the drive in movies… :frowning:

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When I was in 10th grade in 1957, I visited the telephone company on career day. I was fascinated by the electromagnetic switches and the picture in the video brought back memories.
The whole system was powered by batteries that produced 70 volts. The batteries were continuously being recharged from the power lines. If the electricity went off, there were two diesel generators that were started to keep the batteries charged.
When I was given a tour of the garage area, a mobile phone was being installed in a 1951 DeSoto. The transmitter and receiver were vacuum tube units and the mobile phone system was analogous to a big party line. Most people didn’t think about having telephone service in their vehicles. Most mobile phone service was for commercial use at that time.
The country school I attended through 8th grade had a crank operated phone and was in a party line. Our home was 4 miles away but on a different exchange with dial phones. If I needed to call home from school, it was a long distance call and I was expected to reimburse the school a dime.
I still have a dial pay phone at my house. I answered an advertisement in a magazine and bought the pay phone. I used it as an extension phone for a long time–I had it mounted on the wall in my kitchen. It’s stored in the attic now. I keep it in case our local theater group wants to use it for a stage prop.

J. Paul Getty, once the richest man in the world (Getty Oil), had a payphone installed at his English estate so that he didn’t have to pay for his guests’ phone calls.

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I hear windmills cause cancer, but interfering with 4G and 5G would be a new thing.


Windmills can NOT cause cancer…nor can they interfere with 4G 5G communication. And lets not forget that cell towers can’t transmit the Covid Virus. It’s amazing what people will believe these days.


Yes, but the percentage of the population who will believe things that are absolutely not scientifically-based is distressingly large.


I live in a well to do neighborhood with numerous professionals. Yet, a large group of them were scared of a cell phone repeater that Verizon wanted to out on a power transmission tower. It’s at least 500 feet from the repeater to anyone’s yard. The signal at 500 feet distance is 250,000 times less than one foot from the repeater. I suspect the radiation from the power lines is a lot higher than the cell phone antenna. No matter. Some snake oil salesman roped them in and scared them big time. The cell antenna was finally installed. People that are scared for no good reason can delay something, but they can’t stop it, at least in smalll stuff like cell towers.

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@jtsanders Thomas Edison said that alternating current would kill people. Henry Ford was convinced and had his estate wired with direct current.
If Edison and Ford are right, we should have a mass movement to replace alternators with generators in all vehicles.


Generators were universally replaced by alternators in vehicles. Are you suggesting that the auto manufacturers are trying to do us all in? :wink:

@jtsanders There is one advantage to a generator over an alternator. I once had a 14 horsepower riding mower and the generator was also the starter. When I turned the key to start, the generator became a motor and turned the engine over. As soon as the engine started, the generator charged the battery. A generator can be used as a motor while it isn’t possible to use an alternator as a motor.

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