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The telephone was invented by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876. Initially made from wood and metal, it was a cumbersome design that was mostly wall mounted. The candlestick style brought compact design to the telephone; bakelite and subsequent plastic models provided manufacturers with new aesthetic possibilities. The single element Ericofon, containing dial, mouthpiece and receiver, allowed telephone design to move another step forward. In 1965 Richard Sapper and Marco Zanuso designed the Grillo with push buttons and a hinged mouthpiece, which closed like an oyster; this design was the first real antecedent of the modern mobile. In the 1980s, cellular network technology allowed the telephone to become mobile. A prominent feature within present-day society, the telephone is now comprehensively branded and fits into your chosen lifestyle or pocket.

Skeleton Telephone (also known as Eiffel Tower Telephone), L.M. Ericsson, 1890s, brass and aluminium

Candlestick Telephone, General Post Office, 1900–30, enamelled brass

Neophone (also known as Horseshoe Telephone), Siemens Bros and General Post Office, 1924, bakelite

302 Series Desk Telephone, Western Electric, 1937, die-cast metal

Ericofon, Ralph Lysell and Hugo Blomberg for L.M. Ericsson, 1957, plastic, rubber and nylon

Grillo Telephone, Richard Sapper and Marco Zanuso, 1965, Italtel and Siemens Bros, plastic

Trim Phone (Tone Ringing Illuminated Model), Martin Rowlands for General Post Office, 1966, plastic

Mickey Mouse, Donald Winton Designs, 1977, plastic

Twinphone, 1994, Swatch, plastic

BT Cellnet, 1985, plastic

Nokia 8210, Nokia, plastic

Blackberry 7200 series, In Motion for T-Mobile, 2004, plastic