1912 Pocket Telephone


Anyone who thinks cell phones are as new as reality TV shows underestimates the genius of our forebears.  In 1912, German technicians invented the “Pocket Telephone,” a device meant to communicate primarily with police.  An announcement from Berlin read, in part:

“In consequence of the enormous expansion of the German capital, there are many outlying districts which are rendered unsafe through insufficient policing, and the pocket telephone was readily adopted as a partial solution of this problem.  The new system is greatly favored as an adjunct to the police system generally, however, for every policeman is provided with a pocket telephone and can communicate with headquarters or other city departments whenever he finds it necessary.”

The item was actually a microphone that the individual would attach to a “contact device,” which would then connect with authorities.  Of course, the user didn’t have the cherished privacy of a telephone booth.  But, the technology was advanced enough to pick up even soft tones.  The entire thing was about three-quarters of an inch thick and weighed approximately 7 ounces.

As creative and forward-thinking as they were, though, I don’t think the phone’s inventors could have foreseen texting and picture-taking phones.  That took a real leap of perverted thinking.


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8 responses to “1912 Pocket Telephone

  1. What well they think of next?

  2. I think not being able to connect to the internet at that time is what killed it 😉

  3. Kate is

    I gave up my smart phone recently and reverted to the 1912 version. I feel like a ludite.

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