I loved this article from RTE last night on Marty Cooper and his development of the mobile phone. Almost 40 years ago since he called his competitor buddy at AT&T from the street ( Sixth Avenue ) in New York. It’s hard to think that invention would create such an industry to progress lives no end world wide.
That got me thinking about my own childhood and watching the Mannix series or even Rock Hudson making calls from the car. As a kid that was just Wow !, that was so exotic, so out there, and so cool. I decided to check it out and went down memory lane last night by looking at some older clips on YouTube of Humphrey Bogart in an early 1954 black and white movie of Sabrina. How did he actually make that call to his stock broker from the back of the car using what looked like the really old Bakerlite land line phones ?
The science is probably quite complicated but the high level overview is quite simple, bearing in mind that land line telephone technology was in existence since the early 1890s . Lets envision that I am in a car in 1954 travelling some where in a city. In that city there are a bunch of masts standing on buildings, say anywhere from 300 – 2000 ft in height off the ground. Lets say there are 13 of them scattered around a 25 mile radius. Now picture that my boss Joe, 200 miles away calls me and asks me to make an unscheduled pick up. How is the call routed to me ? Have a look at this wonderful insightful video from George Mihal ” 1940s MOBILE TELEPHONES, BELL SYSTEMS, antique car phone”
Well the high level overview is that the call is sent from Joe’s office by land line to the nearest land line telephone station nearest to me. Joe reckoned that I was in the city by now. From the telephone station the call was then sent over the airways to an antenna close to where I was travelling. My car was installed with radio frequency receiving and transmitter equipment . Of course this has a technical team which is called frequency modulation or as FM as we know it today.
https://reason.com/2017/06/11/we-could-have-had-cellphones-f/I am not giving the science and the technology the justice it deserves but I would strongly recommend, if even for laughs that you also read the following two articles which I think are amazing as to how far things have come since then. The first is from a wonderful site called Messy Nessy Chick and its article “A Surprising Compendium of Car Phones Dating back to the 1940s” and the other is from Reason.com which give an account that the mobile phone and its technology may well in fact have been invented been earlier had not bureaucracy and others including Technology incumbents, TV broadcasters, radio common carriers to thwart the future. Have a look at this article on this point