The telephones that made the history of design

From the invention that dates back to the late 19th century to mobile phones and the smartphone revolution: the history of a device that has connected people through memorable models. 

Over the course of its 150 years of history (this number may vary, depending on whether you are Team Meucci or Team Graham Bell) the telephone has lived a great number of lives. An extremely long evolution and history characterized by many technological revolutions. In a nutshell, the telephone is the carrier of the germ of globalization, the sense of contemporary communication lies at the heart of the “phone call”, and the idea of getting in touch almost immediately with (almost anyone in) the world shows that we are aware of the parallelism in our individual existences. There was and there still is something incredibly new and magic in the possibility of hearing a distant voice, of having a conversation between London and New York, of accessing almost instantly pieces of information coming from the other side of the world.

Over the course of its history, the object ‘telephone’ has experienced a great number of transformations, and it is one of those contemporary objects that artists and designers have always enjoyed rethinking, redesigning, taking apart and then putting back together again – in short, interpreting the zeitgeist, and sometimes anticipating it. From Meucci’s telettrophone to the iPhone, we have tried to retrace a century-old history, by presenting the design of the most iconic telephones and telling the history of an object that has contributed to shaping our history.

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