Culture Magazine

Lost Window

By Carolineld @carolineld
Lost window
It's famous as the place our umbrellas end up - not to mention dentures, pushchairs and parcels - so no wonder TfL's Lost Property Office on Baker Street has an unusually interesting window display. 
The capsule history of telephones is particularly appealing. It takes us from a rather robust set lost in 1936, through the brick-sized cellphones of the 1980s, to the much smaller portables many of us misplace today.
Lost window
To the younger viewer, this phone may seem to be missing a keypad, but for those of us who remember real telephones it's the dial which is conspicuous by its absence. My first thought was of the era when calling somebody involved picking up the handset and asking an operator to connect the call. However, dial telephones were already becoming the norm by the 1930s: with its metal base and magneto handle, this is more likely to be some kind of field telephone. Turning the magneto would send a ringing signal to the other telephone or to an operator.
Lost window
Half a century later, someone lost another kind of portable telephone - this time with no wires. The network was analogue, and the handset was anything but pocket-sized. There was a reason these were nicknamed 'bricks'! 
Motorola had released their first phone, the 8000X, in Britain in 1985; this model, the 8000S, appeared a year later. Cheaper than the original, it still cost around £1,000 and weighed nearly a pound. Nonetheless, there were over 50,000 mobile phone users in Britain by 1986. See the Motorola in action in this wonderful promotional video:

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