The Original Ericofon

Retro Staff |  2 Comments

ScandiPhone Based on a Scandinavian Classic

The ScandiPhone is based on a revolutionary phone design that was first introduced in 1954 by the Ericsson Company of Stockholm, Sweden. The Ericofon, also known as the Cobra, was the first single-piece telephone to be sold commercially.

After WWII, a group of Ericsson designers got together with the idea of creating a one-piece telephone, with the handset and dial combined. New advances in technology made during the war resulted in the creation of new plastics, which aided in the development of an innovative new phone design. The phone was also to be as lightweight as possible and had to be easy to use. The resulting design was called the Ericofon and is considered such a significant 20th century design, that an Ericofon resides in the collection at the Museum of Modern Art.

Although originally intended for institutional use the Ericofon was made available for residential use in 1956. The Ericofon was originally released in 18 colors in the North American market. There were promotional phones produced in metallic finishes and clear plastic as well. There was never a black Ericofon made. Eventually the colors were reduced to 8, the most popular being red and white. The original phone had a rotary dial and used a transistor that produced a chirping sound rather than a ringing when a call came in. In 1960 the manufacture of the Ericofon was moved to the United States. The first touchtone Ericofons were produced in 1967. In 1972 the line was discontinued in the US, although in Sweden an anniversary edition was produced in 1976.

The Ericsson Company has grown tremendously since its modest beginning in Stockholm, Sweden. The company was founded by Lars Magnus Ericsson in 1876.  He was a former instrument maker that opened a mechanical engineering shop to serve railway companies requiring telegraph systems. By 1886 Ericsson was also designing and manufacturing switching equipment, as well as wall and desk phones. In addition, they were producing switchboard operator phones, a device that consisted of an earpiece and microphone combined. These were a big seller for the Ericsson Company and lead to the eventual development of the Ericofon.

Grab your own piece of history while showing off your appreciation for the enduring design of the one-piece ScandiPhone. This phone is available at Retroplanet.com in classic red and plugs into any standard phone socket.

Share
Last updated: Feb 15, 2011
Filed under: Retro Ramblings Tagged with: Ericofon, Ericsson Company, ScandiPhone