The film which ironically is silent shows two women walking along a street in an American city. They are carrying a large wooden box of which the top flips open to reveal a phone. They take a wire from the phone and connect it to a fire hydrant. It is assumed that this provides the radio phone with a ground connection as was necessary in the old analogue radios.
They then erect an umbrella around which is would another wire. We assume that this is an aerial. They then initiate a phone conversation with a telephone operator. The operator plays a 78rpm record on an old fashioned record player and holds the mouthpiece of her telephone to the player so that she is broadcasting the sound to the women with the mobile. They listen to the sound and move in time with the music.
The movie footage was discovered by British Pathe whilst searching through an ancient archive of movie clips. They were surprised to find that mobile phone technology had not only been conceived of ninety years ago, but that a version of it had been implemented in reality.
The film first appeared in what was termed a cine-magazine for women called Eve’s Film Review. Titles in the film allude to women being ever interested in new things saying that Eve is now staging an invasion of the wireless world. They refer to the phone as Eve’s Portable Wireless Phone and indicate that one day their husbands will have to carry one – no doubt so the women can keep a check on what he is up to.
The first mobile phone ever used in the film has a flip-up lid and can be seen as a portent of things to come. Nowadays mobile phones are so popular that a recent survey has found that nine out of ten school children possess a mobile.
Mobile technology has come a long way since then. The new iPhone 4 by Apple broke the record in launch sales, with 1.7 million sold within the first 3 days! It has gone down as Apple’s most successful launch product in history, but I’m sure we can expect much more from them in the future.