All-in-one telephone

How this innovation came too late to the Netherlands.

By NEMO Science Museum

Since the beginning of the 20th century, the telephone had consisted of two parts.  

There was the mechanism that made contact with the switchboard.  

And the receiver, which contained a microphone and a speaker.  

Telephone by Emil Møllers TelefonfabrikkerNEMO Science Museum

Swedish telecom manufacturer Ericsson started working on a way to combine these separate sections in an all-in-one phone.  

This quest began in 1939, and around 1950 their brand-new model, the Ericofon, was born.  

View 2NEMO Science Museum

At that time, the Netherlands had only one telephone company: the PTT.  

And from 1965, the PTT supplied only one type of telephone: the T65.  

Telephone by multipleNEMO Science Museum

Around 1979, it became possible for Dutch people to have a second phone in their homes. And that phone could also come from a different supplier.  

The PTT responded by offering its customers the Ericofon.  

It was promoted as the ideal second phone, perfect for your bedside table.  

The Ericofon was sold in three fashionable colours: warm red, bright white and dark brown.  

PTT Ericofon flyer by PTTNEMO Science Museum

View 1NEMO Science Museum

Even so, there wasn’t much interest in the all-in-one phone. This was partly due to its outdated design.      

View 2NEMO Science Museum

By that time, Dutch consumers were used to pushing buttons, but the Ericophone still had a dial.  

As a result, Ericsson’s innovative all-in-one phone has never been a success in the Netherlands.  

View 1NEMO Science Museum

Credits: Story

Object of the Month – February 2021

Every month NEMO Science Museum showcases one of the 19,000 extraordinary objects in its collection. These objects, which were once part of people’s everyday lives, show us how technology has changed over time.

Credits: All media
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