Few people have heard of it, yet many consider John Blankenbaker's KENBAK-1 to be the first commercial personal computer.

Koss introduced these headphones over 40 years ago, and they remain affordable favorites to this day.

Exquisite... What Is It? #001 - Early Hacked Phone

From time to time we like to march out a bit of retro tech that we have no idea about. It's a lot of fun for us to watch the discussion light up in the comments section of a post with guesses as to what it is we've found.

It used to take a lot more work/solder/toggle switches to jailbreak a phone, leaving it bare or your own purposes. Here's how retro telecom geniuses used to do it. This device looks like it started life as a rotary phone, but then got the deluxe accessory package. In place of the dial, we've got a perfectly fitting speaker with the Motorola logo. The handset has a red earpiece and microphone (with a particularly nasty red rubber earcup added). The receiver has a red momentary push-button near the earpiece. You can see the red & green indicator lights on top near the cradle as well.

SwitchesMoving to the front, there are three toggle switches. A three position toggle dutifully DYMO-labelled "SQU", and two more marked "DIR" and "SPKR". There are also what look like two push-buttons, but I think they're lights as well. On the side is a serious looking "A.F. GAIN" knob, and in the back is a 1/4" jack.

I want to think that this may have come from the Motorola factory that's relatively close by, but I supposed Motorola could just be the brand of the speaker (which fits perfectly where the dial used to go). The phone is a standard Western Electric chassis (the phone I grew up with was a cousin to this one). It's a bit homebrew and cobbled together, but clearly by a pro. I doubt this was a commercial product, but nor do I think it's a HAM operator's afternoon's fun in the workshop.

Any ideas?


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