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Commemorative phone not a big hit with customers

Thord Andersson

The Ericofon 700 was the world's first completely electronic one-piece push-button telephone

When Ericsson turned 100 in 1976, it celebrated by unveiling, among other things, a new telephone, the Ericofon 700. It was an upgraded version of the famous "cobra" telephone.

"A commemorative series of 325 telephones with guilded casing were manufactured for the 100th anniversary in Stockholm and were given to prominent guests," recounts Stellan Andersson at Ericsson in Karlskrona, who was the production manager for the project.

The Ericofon 700 had a more sober design than its famous predecessor, and was the world's first completely electronic one-piece push-button telephone. Well-known Swedish designer, Karl-Arne Breger, designed the phone.

"It was a very prestigious assignment," he says. "Technically it was not difficult, but perhaps psychologically."

"The 'cobra,' with its rounded shape, was seen as the pinnacle of chic. How could it be made any better? In addition, they asked me to change the design so that it wasn't noticable!"

The Ericofon 700 was both smaller and lighter than its predecessor. Even by today's standards, one must admit that it has a modern and almost timeless shape. The colors were white, blue, orange and green. The possibilities afforded by electronics were utilized to their full extent. The telephone only had push-buttons, but it came with rotary or touch-tone service. In other words, it could be used on the same line as other rotary telephones, which still dominated the market at the time. Instead of a carbon particle microphone, the Ericofon 700 had an electret type condenser microphone which, according to advertisements, produced hi-fi sound.

It was not a market success, however. Only 30,000 Ericofon 700s were manufactured through 1984.



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