I remember this phone always being a challenge in my youth. We had one when I was growing up. It came from my Grandfather’s house. He always had the coolest, but not the most practical, things. This phone was not designed with a growing teenager in mind. My conversations on the phone when I was 15 or 16 consisted of me sitting on the floor frantically sewing the legs of my Levis so tight I could barely squeeze my foot through with the phone resting on my shoulder as I repeated the words ‘ohmygawd no way” to a friend on the other line. Because of its sleek Calatrava-esque form, it was impossible for me to comfortably hold the phone between my shoulder and ear as I sewed or singed my hair with a curling iron. It was heavy and it would often slip down to the floor hanging up on my friends.
There was a big red button on the bottom. With a gentle touch, it would immediately disconnect the line.
The design also caused additional problems, it was bottom heavy and like a weeble-wobble, it liked to sit upright. If a caller was inquiring to speak with my mom, often times I would say “one moment please” then set it straight down accidentally hanging up. Irritated, the caller always called back.
Now that I am much older and spend less and less time on the telephone, I have new respect and admiration for its elegant design aesthetic. But for the record when I am talking to my friends all these years later, I still say “ohmygawd no way”.
Phone by Ericsson, a Swedish telephone manufacturer (est. 1876); phone designed in 1954 by Hugo Blomberg and Ralph Lysell and put into production by 1957. Image from MoMA.