Written by Thord Andersson
[First published in Contact, 24 December 1998]
Forty years ago, any Ericsson employee who ventured to say
"cobra" when referring to the new telephone with all its components encased in a
single unit would have risked an accusation of "professional misconduct." The
Ericofon was launched in 1956, and was immediately successful. Demand grew rapidly. The
major export markets were the US, Italy, Australia, Brazil and Switzerland. About 20
percent of output was reserved for the Swedish market.
In addition to being compact, the Ericofon weighed less than the receiver
of a conventional desk telephone of the time. It is easy to see why the Museum of Modern
Art in New York selected the Ericofon as one of the best designs of the 20th century.
One of my acquaintances says that she threw away her cobra when the new
push-button phones were introduced - something she now bitterly regrets. Another friend
has one for decorative purposes, and still uses it as an extension phone.