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The first car phones

Lars Magnus Ericsson the founder of the Swedish telephone/radio company of the same name created the first rudimentary version of the car telephone in 1910. It was the result of a "fun retirement project!" ". He and his wife Hilda took the phone ande on their records. When Lars wants to make a call, he parks near a roadside telephone line and Hilda connects two rods to the line. Interesting? Only if it were true – reports say Ericsson didn't own a car or a driver's license.

In the United States, the history of car phones begins in 1920 with WW Macfarlane – a radio enthusiast from Philadelphia. Electrical Experimenter magazine featured him and his invention in an article titled "How Telephone Conversations Can Take Place While Traveling in an Automobile." » But Macfarlane's version was closer to a two-way radio. However, the talking/listening device (handset) was a telephone. But how the signal worked remains a mystery.

The first true car telephone developed by Bell System in the 1940s. It is a mobile radio telephone specially designed to be installed in an automobile. The technology requires a handset, a transmitter and sometimes an external antenna to work.

This service was first used in a mobile car in St. Louis, Missouri on June 17, 1946.

On October 2, 1946, Motorola communications equipment carried the first calls of the Illinois Bell Telephone Company's new automobile radio service in Chicago. Due to the small number of radio frequencies available, the service quickly reached capacity.

The original equipment weighed 80 pounds (36 kg), and there were initially only 3 channels for all users in the metropolitan area. Later, more licenses were added, bringing the total to 32 channels on 3 bands (see IMTS frequencies). This service was used until at least the 1980s in large parts of North America.

From the late 1940s to the 1960s, car phones were mostly a novel, impractical, and very interesting invention. Luxury cars received the first models; the rich and famous were naturally the first users. And then Hollywood played a role in sharing the idea and the invention with more people.

In the world of wireless, the 1970s were the time of 0G service. Car phone systems use vehicle batteries to receive a signal. But their popularity was growing, and by the 1980s, when Ameritech launched commercial cellular service, car phones were even more popular than cell phones.

Cell phones continued to look like bricks well into the 1990s. But with mass production and digital service, they became lighter and more affordable as the new millennium approached. The middle class had access to personal cell phones and car phones quickly lost their charm.

By the 2000s, the car phone was dead. New integrative technology like Bluetooth was the final nail in its coffin. Cars will have hands-free systems in 2008 – they used built-in transceivers or wireless links to connect to a cell phone. The car's audio system and an internal microphone allowed speaking and listening without a handheld device. And then came voice control and many other features found in today's automobiles.


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