The Design Museum Collection App for iPad is available to download from the app store and features interviews filmed by Dezeen, such as this one in which Design Museum director Deyan Sudjic describes the evolution of telephone design.
Sudjic discusses the telephone's emergence as a designed object that developed from scientific equipment to become the precursor to the mobile phone.
Here are some excerpts from the app:
GPO Tele 150 (above)
Based on a popular American design, the GPO first introduced the Tele 150 to the UK in 1924 when it became their first standardised design for a free-standing table phone. Similar to earlier telephones, in that it is a candlestick model, the GPO Tele 150 was innovatory in introducing the dial. This reflected the progression being made in automatic switching technology. It was no longer necessary for an operator to connect all calls (a process known as ‘exchange switching’). Instead, the dial operated an automatic exchange switching mechanism by sending out a series of electrical impulses corresponding to the number being dialled.
As recognisably English as a London bus or postbox, the K6 telephone box is one of several iconic designs to make good use of the colour red. Commissioned in 1936 to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of the coronation of King George V, the ‘Jubilee Kiosk’ was designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott. The architect had designed earlier versions of the iconic red telephone box, most notably the K2, which was produced exclusively for the London area. Smaller and cheaper to make than the K2, the K6 became the first genuinely standard telephone box. As part of the Jubilee celebrations, it was decided that kiosks should be placed in every town or village with a post office, regardless of cost. As a result, over 8,000 new telephone boxes were installed all over the country.
Grillo was the Italian equivalent to the UK’s Trimphone and the Scandinavian Ericofon. While the others are now considered experiments in 1960s styling, with little more than retro appeal today, the Grillo’s 1965 revolutionary clam-shell design has gone on to influence a multitude of products from laptops to modern mobile phones.
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