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.

The Big Bulky Dawn Of Ancient Cell Phones

Complete with walkie-talkie flexi-whip style antenna...

I'm still sort of a reluctant mobile phone user. I still get disoriented talking on them, just like the first time I used one in the early 90's. Giving directions while my own location was constantly changing was a bit too much for my little landline mind. My friend had a bag phone a lot like this Ameritech AC-250 in her comically diminutive Ford Festiva. I remember teasing her saying that she spent all that money on a fancy pants mobile phone, then used whatever pocket change was left to buy the car.

My impressions of cell phones seem indelibly formed by the earliest days of the tech. I still think of cell phone calls as being really expensive, so I tend to talk fast to not go over a minute. I also tend to forget that modern phones do much more than just make phone calls. Last week when I was on location for a TV gig, I realized that everyone there relied very heavily on texting and I had to join in. I should have brought the ol' Ameritech bag phone along and said, "sure I have a cell phone - and it's even got one o' them fancy LCD readouts! By the way, what's a ringtone?"

I'm disappointed that my imagination was a bit stuck back in the bag phone days, I never conjectured that there would be a day when every kid could have their own pocket cell phone. I knew they'd get smaller than these bagged affairs, but I never thought they'd get tiny and cheap enough to be practically disposable (disgraceful as that may be). I don't think this phone would even work today as it might be an analog unit?

The bag has an amusing tag in it warning against leaving the setup unsecured in your car while driving, saying that you should run the seatbelt through the handle as "an unsecured telephone could cause serious injury or interfere with the safe operation of the vehicle" (never mind being distracted while driving). In our overly litigious society, why isn't there a law requiring every object to bear a tag warning of possibly becoming a missile in a moving car? Then again, a phone this size is blunt force trauma in a leatherette bag. I guess that the only thing the phone has going for it these days is that it's unlikely to be stolen.

The technology has of course moved so fast that that great big bag phones were left behind long ago, but his unit isn't going to the scrap heap quite yet. These days there are the beginnings of collector interest in old bulky phones. This particularly large one is likely in the $20-30 range. I suppose it might be interesting to someone who has only used ever used elegant and compact phones. It's sort of like the continued interest in the very large and loud boom boxes of the 80's even though there are many smaller ways to experience music (but few better, I daresay!). Do any of you remember the first cell phone you used?


The affordable, transportable Radio Shack cellular telephone
10 year old Sony comic book phone already forgotten
Sparkfun rotary mobile phone


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