In Pictures: Groovy 1970s consumer tech

The 1970s played host to an explosion in consumer electronics gadgets that changed how we educate, entertain, calculate, and communicate.


Unlike some of the other gadgets in this slideshow, telephone technology remained relatively stagnant throughout the 1970s. That's because the Bell System dominated the American telephone network as a national monopoly until 1984. Without competition, Ma Bell felt no particular impetus to innovate (or at least bring its innovations to the mass market). The problem was certainly evident in phone design: Though all of the phone designs shown on the right were popular in the 1970s, none originated in that decade. The pictured rotary desk phone style, for example, debuted in 1949. Instead, perhaps the decade's biggest telephone handset innovation occurred with the introduction of the ATC Mickey Mouse phone in 1976. Let this be a warning to future would-be tech monopolists.

Credit:, Pacific Telephone

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