Saturday, September 21, 2013

"The Curious Case of the 103-Year-Old Car Phone" (AAPL; ERIC)

From Wired:

Photo: Ericsson
You think the mythology swirling around Apple and the iPhone is impressive? The ghost of Steve Jobs ain’t got nothin’ on Lars Magnus Ericsson.

As the lemmings line up across the country for their golden Apple communicators and the pundits hail the new iOS 7 mobile operating system as a work of otherworldly Ivian genius, let’s take a moment to remember the late, great Lars — the Swedish founder of the Ericsson radio and telephone empire. The history books will tell you that in 1910, on a farm in Sweden, more than three decades before Steve Jobs was even born, Lars Magnus Ericsson invented the world’s first car phone.

By 1910, Ericsson had retired from life as a telecommunications mogul, retreated to the Swedish countryside with his wife Hilda, and turned himself into a farmer — some 10 decades before growing your own food became a cliche among the tech elite. But, the history books say, he also found the time to equip his car with a phone.

As explained by John Meurling and Richard Jeans, authors of the Mobile Phone Book: The Invention of the Mobile Telephone Industry, Ericsson equipped his car with a phone that could hook into the telephone lines running along the side of the road — after he parked and Hilda pulled out her sticks.

“There were two long sticks, like fishing rods, handled by Hilda. She would hook them over a pair of telephone wires, seeking a pair that were free,” he book reads. “When they were found, Lars Magnus would crank the dynamo handle of the telephone, which produced a signal to an operator in the nearest exchange.”...MORE
Also at Wired:
Robot Love, Life-Saving Bitcoins, and More: Must-Reads From the WIRED World This Week
Margaret Atwood on Science Fiction, Dystopias, and Intestinal Parasites