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.

Toy Ranch Phone - No Extra Fees For Roaming

Ranchphone It's not that long ago that the iMac hit store shelves, quickly followed by tons of unrelated junk sold with a lowercase "i" in the front.  This isn't a new idea.  Fads often inspire manufacturers to look at their own shelves to see what they can adapt to cash in on the latest craze. 

Here's a toy phone adapted into a "ranch phone", hitting the market during the cowboy craze of the 1950's.  This darling little phone might have been one of the few non-gun toys that your neighborhood's ranch hands gave two spits about, I reckon.

The phone is scaled for smaller cowpokes, complete with a detachable earpiece and a turning crank.  A friend of mine has an even more deluxe version that uses the handle to drive a small voice mechanism inside.  CrankIt wobbles out what is now a spooky-sounding message about meeting up at the ranch.  When it was new I doubt that it sounded much better, but to a kid brought when talking toys were a rarity I'll bet that it sounded like bliss.

The manufacturer Gong Bell started out in 1866 making - you guessed it - bells!  Toys came next, which they manufactured into the 1960's.  Their toys were all made of metal and wood, but for some reason they never moved with the rest of the industry to using money-saving plastic.

Gongbellsdetail              It's interesting that at the same time this toy phone celebrated the anachronism of cowboys, the company was becoming an anachronism of its own by sticking with traditional quality materials.  Hats off, gentlemen, as Gong Bell and their ranch phone ride off into the sunset.


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