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The hPhone prototype

Soon after the news that Gizmodo had gotten their hands on the next iPhone, I stumbled on a photo of one of the earliest prototype wireless phones, code-named the hPhone.

The hPhone predates the iPhone by about 105 years.  It made its appearance at the International Electrical Congress in September 1904, held on the grounds of the Saint Louis World’s Fair.

The “h” in hPhone is short for Hutchison, Miller Reese Hutchison, its inventor, the guy who also invented the klaxon, and the first electrical hearing aid.  M.R. Hutchison later became Thomas Edison’s chief engineer.

The hPhone, whose full name is the Hutchison Wireless Telephone, can be seen on page 105 of the St. Louis Electrical Handbook, available here. The Handbook itself is a quirky travel guide that reads like Let’s Go St. Louis tailored for an engineer.  For example, it describes the city boundaries of St. Louis as resembling a “double convex meniscus, with the longer axis running north and south, its eastern boundary being formed by a wide sweep of the [Mississippi] river.”

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April 21, 2010 at 8:24 pm Leave a comment


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