Voice Silencer on Telephone Lets You Talk in Secret (Feb, 1941)

Voice Silencer on Telephone Lets You Talk in Secret
Your telephone conversation can be made inaudible to others in the same room if the phone is equipped with a new mouthpiece that prevents sound from escaping. It is easily attached to any hand instrument and fits snugly around the speaker’s lips. There is no distortion of the voice. Part of the midget “telephone booth” telescopes to fit the standard cradle phone.

Your Telephone Of Tomorrow (Sep, 1956)

Usually old articles of the form “Your x of tomorrow” be it house, car, phone, city, plane, etc are full of ideas that are wildly off the mark or just plain ridiculous. This article about the future of phones is remarkable because virtually everything in it has come true. Worldwide Direct Touchtone Dialing, Transistorized Switching, Audio/Video data compression, Voice Recognition and rampant miniaturization. All true. Not to mention that a tiny, touchtone, color videophone you can watch TV on is a pretty accurate description of my Motorola RAZR.

I also love the idea that everyone will get a phone number at birth and keep it for the rest of their life. If you call someone and they don’t pick up, you’ll know they’re dead. Or perhaps just sleeping.

Your Telephone Of Tomorrow

Future may bring push-button dialing, videophones, direct calls anywhere on earth and pocket-size sets.

By Robert G. Beason

ON SOME night in the future a young man walking along Market Street in San Francisco may suddenly think of a friend in Rome. Reaching into his pocket, he will pull out a watch-size disc with a set of buttons on one side. He will punch ten times. Turning the device over, he will hear his friend’s voice and see his face on a tiny screen, in color and 3-D. At the same moment his friend in Rome will see and hear him.

The disc will be a telephone, a miniature model equipped for both audio and video service. Back in 1952, Harold S. Osborne, retiring chief engineer of American Telephone & Telegraph, envisioned this tiny instrument as the ultimate shape of the phone. In the future, said Mr. Osborne, a telephone number will be given at birth to every baby in the world. It will be his for life. When he wants to call anyone, no matter where, he will merely push the buttons on his Lilliputian phone.


There has never been a time when the work of the telephone operator has been so important as right now.
For there are more Long Distance calls than ever before. More are in a hurry, particularly the urgent calls of war.
Calm in emergencies, capable and courteous, the telephone operators are earning a nation’s thanks for a job well done.


When you’re calling over war-busy lines, the Long Distance operator may ask you to “please limit your call to 5 minutes.” That’s to help more calls get through during rush periods.

Phone Switch Shuts Off Radio (Feb, 1932)

Phone Switch Shuts Off Radio
RADIO listeners know what a nuisance it is to try to talk over the phone while the radio is running full blast. Manufacturers have come to the rescue, however, with a switch which automatically shuts off the radio when you lift the receiver to your ear. This switch is contained in a base on which the phone rests, as shown in the accompanying photo. Switches for both French and upright type phones are available at the option of the user.

DRIVE-IN PHONE (Aug, 1957)

DRIVE-IN PHONE at car-window level is one of three experimental dialers in Chicago. Weatherproof and lighted at night, phones are boon to motorists in sloppy weather.

Phone Designed for Eavesdroppers (Feb, 1932)

This is pretty interesting indication of how recent our idea of “privacy rights” are. Apparently people were so curious as to what others were saying on the phone line that they would tap into them and listen in. This caused the voltage to drop and the signal to degrade. The solution? Add pre-installed, high-quality phones where they could “officially” listen in.

Phone Designed for Eavesdroppers

TELEPHONE companies are much concerned by eavesdropping on rural party lines because it interferes with transmission over the line. To take down the receiver increases the electrical resistance of the circuit.

It is proposed to stop fighting the apparently incurable tendency of rural subscribers to listen to other people’s business and to recognize it by installing special telephone instruments to which eavesdroppers can listen without increasing the electrical resistance of the circuit or interfering with its legitimate use.

New Cable Conquers Congestion (Sep, 1939)

New Cable Conquers Congestion

IMAGINE a city street with a thousand rows of telephone poles, each holding aloft sixty wires!

Of course such a street would look more like a bad dream than any kind of a thoroughfare, but without the modern lead-covered cable that’s exactly what half the streets in most of our larger cities would look like. The picture at the left showing lower Broadway, in New York City, in the ’80s gives a slight hint of what a city street would look like without present day cables, developed in the past four decades by telephone engineers.

Bell Ad: Very Early Routing Tables (Mar, 1955)

How your telephone call asks directions… and gets quick answers

When the Bell System’s latest dial equipment receives orders to connect your telephone with another in a distant city, it must find-quickly and automatically—the best route.

Route information is supplied in code—as holes punched on steel cards. When a call comes in, the dial system selects the appropriate card, then reads it by means of light beams and photo-transistors. Should the preferred route be in use the system looks up an alternate route.

How soon will you be able to see over the phone? (Aug, 1956)

There is something humorous about a rotary video phone.

How soon will you be able to see over the phone?

It may be sooner than you think. For the remarkable new Hughes tonotron—now used for high-fidelity transmission of maps and other navigational pictures to ships and aircraft—will make possible “face-to-face” telephone calls to and from your office or home.

The tonotron is only one example of Hughes Products leadership in research and development of electron tubes and related advances in electronics, such as transistors and diodes. It is with products like these that science will bring about the dynamic electronics era—in which you will have on-the-wall television, electronic control of factory production, and countless other marvels.

As one of the country’s largest electronics research and manufacturing firms, Hughes Products backs its semiconductors, cathode ray tubes, and industrial systems and controls with a long record of technical accomplishments. These include the “thinking” falcon air-to-air missile, and the self-directing Hughes Automatic Armament Control which is standard equipment on all Air Force interceptors.

Undoubtedly there is a time- and money-saving application of Hughes electronic products to your own business. A Hughes Products sales engineer will welcome the opportunity to work with your staff. Please write: Hughes Products, Los Angeles 45, California.

Same wires – many more voices (Oct, 1952)

Same wires – many more voices
Connecting new multi-voice system to open-wire lines, near Albany, Georgia. With new system, 150,000 miles of short open-wire telephone lines can be made to carry up to 16 simultaneous messages economically.

Much of your Long Distance telephone system works through cable but open-wire lines are still the most economical in many places. Thousands of these circuits are so short that little would be saved by using elaborate carrier telephone systems which are better suited for long-haul routes. But a new carrier system . . . the Type O designed especially for short hauls … is changing the picture. It is economical on lines as short as 15 miles. With Type O thousands of lines will carry as many as 16 conversations apiece.

Type O is a happy combination of many elements, some new, some used in new ways. As a result, terminal equipment takes up one-eighth as much space as before. Little service work is required on location; entire apparatus units can be removed and replaced as easily as vacuum tubes.

Moreover, the new carrier system saves copper by multiplying the usefulness of existing lines. For telephone users it means more service . . . while the cost stays low.

Improving telephone service for America provides careers for creative men in scientific and technical fields