Before the iPhone

When I worked at The Athens (OH) Messenger in the late 1960s, the other photographer and and I would make contact sheets of the film we shot, then we’d cut out the frames we were considering for layouts. That let us crop them and move them around on the layout sheet to figure out what would look best. When I was done with mine, I’d throw them in a box.

I happened to run across that box the other day and discovered these two boys who had created their own mobile phone network long before anyone thought of cell phones in general or iPhones in particular.

Unlimited voice and data plans

The boys were smart enough to find a communication system that had unlimited voice and data plans and that could be used from both fixed locations and on the road. They didn’t have to sign a contract and they didn’t need batteries. I wish I could find a deal like that today.

11 Replies to “Before the iPhone”

  1. Oh my. This takes me back to my own childhood when my next door neighbor and i had a similar “phone”. I LOVE this beautiful sepia-toned, nostalgia-laden photo. You captured an era in this picture. Thank you, Ken.

    1. Contact or proof sheets weren’t intended to be permanent, so we cut all kinds of processing steps to save time.

      That nice sepia tone is because the sheet wasn’t fixed nor washed long enough. It DOES add a nice touch, but eventually the image will fade to nothing.

      Glad you had a chance to see it before it was gone. (I still have the negative, I hope.)

  2. We had long distance on Meriwether St., we put the line across the street. Our yards were above street level, not high enough apparently because it worked fine until the first truck came by and broke our string.

    1. An iPhone is an Apple “smart phone” that only ATT can sell. They are somewhere between a useful device and a cult status symbol.

      Their dominance in the cellular market, partially because they are on a carrier that Consumer Reports rates as worst for service, is being challenged by Android devices that use Google technology.

      I wasn’t sure if you were really curious or just pulling my leg.

  3. WHEN I GLANCED AT THE FIRST PICTURE, THE IMMEDIATE THOUGHT I HAD WAS “A TOOTH PULLING”. HAD TO LAUGH CAUSE I KNOW OF A LOT OF KIDS THAT USED THIS SORT OF WAY TO PULL THOSE LOOSE TEETH!

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