‘All our Yesterdays - Life before the Mobile!’ was a nostalgic trip down ‘Memory Lane’ for our more mature visitors and an astonishing ‘eye opener’ for the under 25s!
The phone-in-your-pocket that we all take for granted, has been around almost 30 years now, but before the mobile, all these functions were performed by individual devices, invented or perfected many years ago.
At the time, they seemed ‘marvels of the age’ and it was difficult to imagine how they could ever be improved.
We invite you to discover – or remember – how some of these old technologies worked.
In the centre of the room, was a small case containing two items :- a modern ‘Blackberry’ and a replica of Alexander Graham Bell’s original telephone of 1876 (made of oak – of course!)
One bay described the development of the telephone, with examples from the 1890s through to a very early ‘Mobile’ of the ‘80s – known as ‘The Brick’ for obvious reasons! – and not forgetting the notorious ‘Trimphone’, which everyone remembers but nobody liked! Also included was our very popular working Strowger Telephone Exchange.
No mobile phone is complete without music – so we had various wind up gramophones dating from the early 1900s to the teenagers’ ‘must have’ portable record players of the 1960s - as well as a couple of 1890s graphophones, complete with wax cylinders.
We also had the world’s first video recorder on display! This dates from 1964, is the size of a large suitcase, black+white, 2 channels and cost a staggering £1,200 (more than a family car – and far more than the average annual salary!)
Another bay was dedicated to radio, with a few of our favourites, ranging from a 1922 AJS, with valves sitting on the front; wartime civilian receiver made out of plywood; a couple of very attractive bakelite models from the ‘30s, a few ‘trannies’ and a ‘pop-art’ radio in the form of a 1928 sports car (take a look at the spare wheel .... it is the volume control!)
Next came television and we paid tribute to John Logie Baird. On display was a kit version of the ‘Televisor’, Baird’s first television set, dating from 1930. (The commercially produced Televisor was ‘beyond the reach’ of many purses, so you could buy the components in kit form and build them into your own case.)
The final bay was a sort of ‘catch-all’ of many of the other components in your mobile phone: typewriters (no delete button!), adding machines, cameras, wire recorders - everything from snakes and ladders to computers... and the list is growing steadily and rapidly.
In the exhibition, we followed the mobile phone through the first 30 years of its existence.... what will the next 30 have in store for us??