Before 1926 Metal and wood
The first telephones were mostly made of wood. As demand for smaller telephones grew and progresses in technology made components smaller, more and more telephones were made of metal, steel in particular.
Automatic exchanges and rotary dials start to emerge.
1926 – 1945 Bakelite – WW2
The first telephones with an integrated dial start to appaer, metal is being replace by the new modern materail Bakelite. Because of the properties of this material more complex shapes can be made more easily.
1945 – 1960 Late bakelite period
Post war austerity leads to mostly simple black telephones on this side of the Atlantic. The material used is almost exclusively Bakelite, while in the USA all kinds of colorfull phones made of thermoplastics are available to consumers.
At the end of the 50s the first thermoplastic telephones start to appear in Europe too.
1960 – 1975 Plastic era
Almost every country gets its own model modern plastic telephone. The color of choice for these modern telephones is invariably grey, as a change from the dull black of the past. The first colored telephones are available to consumers.
1975 – 1990 Touch tone era
The invention of the transistor and the development of microelectronics lead to the touch tone telephone. Touch tone makes use of digital signaling, called DTMF.
It is the beginning of the end of the era of big monopolistic telephone companies.
Consumers demand varied models and colorfull telephones. The telephone becomes a fashion accesory and together with liberalisation of the telephone market this leads to a sharp decline in kwality and life expectancy of the telephones.
1990 – present
Telefoons worden meer en meer draadloos en gaan op mobieltjes lijken. DECT-telefonie zorgt ervoor dat men ongestoord draadloos kan bellen. De opkomst van internet en GSM-telefoons leiden tot een dalend aantal vaste lijnen. ISDN en VOIP-telefonie doen vooral telefoons voor kantooromgevingen enorm veranderen.
Telephones become more and more wireless and start to look like mobile telephones. Because of DECT technology people are able to call each other wireless without interference.
The emergence of the internet and GSM-telephony lead to a decline in fixed landlines. ISDN and VOIP lead to dramatic changes in telephones for an office environment.
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