Clean, minimalistic, functional: Scandinavian design at its best. Here are 7 examples of simple but very stylish telephones from Northern Europe. It is no wonder that all of these phones are in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art.
1. Ericsson type 1931
The very first integrated phone, fully made of bakelite. A ground breaking design, not only incorporating the dial into the housing but the cradle as well. And made of the relatively new wonder material: bakelite.
Before bakelite telephones were made of wood, pressed steel or cast zinc alloy. Bakelite allowed complex shapes to be produced relatively quickly, cheaply and aesthitically pleasing.
This Art Deco phone was designed by Danish sculptor Jean Heiberg. It’s innovative design cast a very long shadow and influenced many other telephone designs. It was in production for almost 30 years and influenced the British, French, and Russian standard telephone. Also the classic and famous Western Electric 302 was based on its design.
2. Ericsson Ericofon
Telephone designers had been trying to develop a one piece telephone for years, when Ericsson came up with their Ericofon. Designed by Ralph Lysell and Gösta Thames it oncorporates some unique and clever solutions, like a dial under the phone and a hook switch button that is operated by putting the phone down.
Marketed as the quintessential bedroom phone, it is now sought after as an icon of the plastic fantastic era. They come in a wide variety of colors and are highly collectable.
A touch tone variant of this phone is still made today.
3. Ericsson Ericovox speaker phone
Speaker phones had been around for quite a while, when Ericsson came up with their Ericovox in the 1950s. Made only in grey, which at the time was a welcome change from the black bakelite of which most other telephones at the time were made.
Making full use of the advantages of the new transistor technology it has excellent acoustic characteristics, even by todays standards.
And it is housed in a cleverly designed pyramid, with 3 buttons on top.
4. Kirk Standard Electric 76E
Designed by the famous Jacob Jensen, this Danish telephone was the first touch tone telephone to have an electronic ringtone, instead of mechanical bells. Also it had an innovative volume control button in the handset.
The extra power supply is needed for its electronic memory, as the electronics of the time needed more power than a normal telephone line could provide.
Its convex handset combines pleasingly with its convexs housing.
It was produced in many colors, under many names throughout the world.
5. GNT Automatic S/A F78
Another Danish design, contemporary of the Diavox and 76E, this clean lined telephone was designed by Henning Andreasen in 1977.
It was used by KTAS, the Danish state telephone company as one of their standard telephones together with the Kirk Standard Electric 76E.
With its timeless elegance it is minimalistic and functional to a high degree and it is no surpise that is has less functions that the 76e.
6. Ericsson Diavox
Again an Ericsson design, their standard telephone from 1979. Especially designed for the touch tone technology, its flat front allowed more button operated funtions besides just dialing a telephone number. Thus allowing many variants.
Even though it was designed with push buttons in mind, there were also rotary dial versions made.
A highly versatile telephone that can be found in many colors, it was produced in vast numbers and can still be found in many places around the world.
7. Bang & Olufsen BeoCom 1000
The last but by no means the least of this series this Danish Design was made to the highest quility, both electronically and acoustically. It has become an icon of the 1980s, it still looks very modern today. It’s iconic design and it’s almost avant gardistic bold lines ensure it has loyal following of fans, as many of the high quality Bang & Olufsen designs do. Love it or hate it, you’ll never forget it.
In my collection
All of these phones are in my personal telephone collection. I have many other telephones, design models and not so design models.