Fire Alarm Talks Over Telephone (May, 1935)

Fire Alarm Talks Over Telephone
A PERFECT fire alarm, when heated, lifts a telephone receiver, dials the operator, informs her as to the exact location of the fire, and rings a guiding alarm.
The device is ingeniously controlled by a thermostat. When heated to the danger point, the thermostat sets the machinery in motion. A screw plate rises to lift the receiver, a metal finger dials the operator, and the phonograph starts repeating the directions, which, together with the loud gong, bring the firefighters directly to the scene.


What does now taste like? Sweeter or more bitter than then?
What sound does purple make?
What does 12 smell like?

At Bell Labs, we’re working on all these questions and more!
Bell Labs, for all your existential research needs.

Also, I love the fact that they didn’t spring for a color ad.

In color television, the colors on the screen are determined in a special way. A reference signal is sent and then the color signals are matched against it. For example, when the second signal is out of step by 50-billionths of a second, the color is green; 130-billionths means blue.

Just hearing a pin drop is easy… (Apr, 1954)

I think these guys should sue Sprint for stealing their catch-phrase.

Just hearing a pin drop is easy…

Bruel & Kjaer instruments analyze sound and put it in writing for you
Since Bruel & Kjaer instruments present essential data so easily, they greatly simplify the analysis and control of sound, vibration, and noise.

For example, the Spectrum Recorder automatically “scans” any sounds from 35 to 18,000 cycles per second in third-octave steps. Chart records, produced immediately, indicate both frequency spectrum and signal amplitude. The instrument saves hours of engineering time in analysis of sounds and vibrations, and in studies of strains, pressure variations, complex electrical voltages, and magnetic tape recordings.

Developed for laboratory use, the line of Bruel & Kjaer instruments is finding ever-broader use in industry. For information on acoustical and electro-acoustical measurements that can be made easily with these instruments, write Brush Electronics Company, Dept. B-4, 3405 Perkins Avenue, Cleveland 14, Ohio.
The Brush Development Co.
Brush Electronics Company is an operating unit of Clevite Corporation

The First Ring Tone (Apr, 1956)

Telephones Will “Ring” With Musical Tones
Telephone users will welcome the news that the Bell Telephone Laboratories is experimenting with a new device that will eliminate the b-r-r-r-ing of present-day instruments. The gadget, using transistors, will produce pleasant musical tones resembling those of a clarinet. Sound emanates through the louvred area at the base of the set, shown in the photo with a white background.
This device requires less than 1 volt for operation; the ordinary telephone bell needs about 85 volts. A full-scale field trial of the new equipment is expected to provide enough technical data and customers’ reactions to help determine its future.

Build your own answering machine (Jun, 1958)

“Impossible, you say? The miracle of electronics has all but removed the word “impossible” from the dictionary.”

Make the POP’tronics Secretary

Tell your friends that their telephone messages to you will he recorded by electronics


HOW WOULD YOU LIKE to have a secretary who will answer your phone and take messages at any hour of the day or night but who will demand no pay and no coffee breaks? Impossible, you say? The miracle of electronics has all but removed the word “impossible” from the dictionary.

There are two types of systems you can build which will do this job for you. The deluxe system requires two tape machines or one tape machine and one disc machine— when a call comes in, it plays a recording of instructions and then switches over to record the message. The simpler type, to be described here, requires only one recorder and anyone who can put together a small amplifier can build it.

Plastic Shell Equips Phone For Two-Way Listening (Nov, 1953)

Plastic Shell Equips Phone For Two-Way Listening

Two persons can share the same telephone with a device patented by Roger Heap of Lyme, Conn. Simple in design, it consists of a T-shape plastic shell which cups over the receiving end of the phone. The hollow arms transmit the message to listeners at both sides. Heap fashioned the device so that he and Mrs. Heap could join in three-way conversations with their son in Detroit.

Coin Operated Phone for Home (Mar, 1933)

Coin Operated Phone for Home
TO PREVENT excessive phone bills and to lessen the “Can I use your phone” nuisance, a coin-operated lock can now be obtained for either the French cradle type phone or the standard type. In operation, a nickel is inserted in the slot after removing the receiver from the hook and the plunger is pushed down with the finger.
The device can be applied in a few seconds to all types of standard phones. It is used in offices, stores and homes where, the meter system is employed.

Amazing New Picturephone (Jun, 1968)

This is the earliest reference I’ve seen to a CCD in a consumer product.

Amazing New Picturephone
A step closer to in-person

By W. Stevenson Bacon

There’s a brand-new Picturephone in the works that will one day give you instant total communication with anyone you call. What makes it fascinating is the amazing versatility of the delicately engineered unit that holds both picture and camera tubes.

Unlike the old Picturephone, this one gives you a choice of wide-angle picture, long-range shot, or electronic close-up. Pull a lens out and aim it downward, and you can send pictures, drawings, or printed documents. If you wish, you can push a button to see what you’re sending. And if a call catches you in the shower you can simply switch over to three-bar test pattern.

Bell Telephone Laboratories packed all this into an 8-by-11-by-14-inch box by using tiny integrated circuits that incorporate hundreds of transistors and other components on small chips of silicon. In fact, the only vacuum tubes used are the picture and camera tubes. And even the camera tube makes use of semiconductors.

The camera tube is a revolutionary new type that uses a target (the part of the tube that converts incoming light to electrical charges) made of silicon and containing 300,000 light-sensitive diodes formed on it by integrated circuit techniques. It’s the first time that semiconductors and vacuum tubes have been combined to make one device.

Giant Videophone (Jul, 1964)

Low-cost viewer lets you see who’s calling

This phone-viewing system gives you a picture of any caller similarly equipped. It can be used on ordinary telephone lines. Push a button and within five seconds the picture appears. Developed by Toshiba Co., Japan, price is estimated at $250 although it’s not yet ready for sale.