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  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Japan (made)
    Great Britain (retailed)

  • Date:

    1987 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    British Telecom (retailers)
    Kokusai Electric Co., Ltd. (manufacturers)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Moulded polycarbonate with metal and rubber

  • Credit Line:

    Given by British Telecom Ltd.

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

In the early 1980s the first cellular phones appeared, no longer reliant on a wire connection to the telephone network. There were three types: hand portable (like this one), transportable (that were carried in a case like a brief case) and car phones. This hand- portable phone barely qualifies as pocket-sized, and could only offer extremely limited talktime, but its portability marked the beginning of a telecommunications revolution.

Physical description

Hand-portable celluar telephone in black plastic and metal. Aerial andd wrist strap attached. Rubber function and numerical keys.

Place of Origin

Japan (made)
Great Britain (retailed)


1987 (made)


British Telecom (retailers)
Kokusai Electric Co., Ltd. (manufacturers)

Materials and Techniques

Moulded polycarbonate with metal and rubber


Height: 30.5 cm, Width: 5.5 cm, Depth: 6.5 cm

Object history note

In 2001, BT began the dispersal of its collection of historic telecommunications artefacts and documentation, through the Connected Earth Project. This project was established to dispose of BT's collections to the professional museums sector, and to make available the history of British telecommunications via a 'virtual museum' (www.connected-earth.com). The majority of specialist collections was dispersed to 9 partner museums (including the Science Museum and the Museum of London). The rest of the material was offered to the museums sector (including the V&A) on a first come, first served basis. This telephone is one of those given to the V&A [2003/167].

Descriptive line

Cellular phone, made by British Telecom, Great Britain, 1985.

Production Note

Reason For Production: Retail


Rubber; Metal; Polycarbonate




Household objects; Telecommunication; Product design; Plastic; Personal accessories

Production Type

Mass produced


Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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