Found by a researcher in the Pathe vaults, this clip from 1922, possibly filmed in New York, shows that 90 years ago, the idea mobile phone technology was not only being thought of, but being tested….
Of course, Eve’s Wireless is not technically a mobile phone, it’s a mobile ‘wireless’, which is what they used to call ‘radios’ back then. Mr. Simon Atkins, an Ex-Royal Signals officer, wrote in to Pathé with some useful information on the footage:
“The two ladies are using a small simple HF radio, probably a ‘Cat’s Whisker’ type. For it to work it needs to be earthed, which is why it’s connected to the fire hydrant. The antenna or aerial is the wire in the umbrella. On the receiving end the telephonist is using an HF radio and puts the microphone next to the record player. For the two ladies to hear she would be pressing the pressel switch.”
This Home-o-fone looks pretty similar to what the ladies are using in the clip…
Also notice at the 0:42 mark, when the receiver on the other end of the wireless plays her gramophone to the ladies standing at the fire hydrant– it’s just like modern-day music streaming. Impressive I suppose, but I bet there weren’t any apps.