iPhone? Try old phone (patents)!

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When the new iPhone was announced, opinions around the web were mixed. Some loved its sleek design and larger screen, while others made the Clint Dempsey face once they realized how much money they will have to shell out to replace their accessories with ones compatible with the new connector. I, however, am perfectly content with my $29 cheap smartphone with a blazingly slow processor, poor phone reception, and 200 MB data plan. I do have a friend who has an old flip phone with the text messaging option blocked so he doesn’t have to pay or deal with anything related to text messaging. These old timers make me harken back to the time when pay phones weren’t just for criminals, phones had rotary dials, and people used the word “harken” regularly.

Follow along with me as I detail some really old phone patents, including the most famous one of all!

1) Improvement in Telegraphy – US 174,465 A

graham bell

“A cone, A, is used to converge sound vibrations upon the membrane…A similar sound to that uttered into A, is then heard to proceed from L.”

This is Alexander Graham Bell’s famous telephone patent that started the monopoly that led to the classic “reach out and touch someone” commercial campaign in order to improve the image of said monopoly.

2) Telephone – US 266,022 A


Edison described the improvement as “relates to the transmitting instrument.” The main thrust of the claims are an adjusting mechanism to improve electricity conduction.

A patent by Thomas Edison for a telephone. Word on the street (by which I mean I completely made it up) was that Edison gave up on his telephone invention to focus on his direct current power transmission system, which was eventually beaten by the alternating current system created by his former employee, Nikola Tesla, which we now use today. Upon learning of this, Edison was rumored to shout NOOOOOO to the heavens.

3) Adjustable Support for Telephone Receivers – US 314,371 A


No two ways about it: this thing is SWANK.

An early design for the telephone stand has that classic old-timey look that is bound to never go out of style. “With the telephone, you make the call!

4) Portable Telephone Apparatus – US 898,699 A

portable phone

Not portable in the way we’d consider phones portable today…this could at least be disconnected at home to take with you to your summer home.

This 1908 patent for a portable telephone was way ahead of its time. With a minimalist design and weighing as much as a small child, this phone would have given all of your friends the ability to reach you instantly, rather than using the 4 day horse and buggy ride that would have normally occurred.

Next time: Danny tries to make plans using a regular telephone, but then realizes that no one has a landline anymore.

Find previous writings and musings from the off-kilter Danny Rooney here.

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This post was contributed by Registered Patent Agent Dan Wolka and edited by Chris Jagalla. The Intellogist blog is provided for free by Intellogist’s parent company, Landon IP, a major provider of patent search, technical translation, and information services.


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