Like a cobra
Do you remember this telephone? It was common in Swedish homes until the AXE-exchanges came and with them new possibilities and functions accessible only by telephones with key pads instead of the traditional dial. Good bye to all old standard phones.
The Ericofon, which was its product name though it was probably used only within LM Ericsson and The Swedish Telecom – the rest of Sweden referred to it as “the cobra”, was designed already in 1941 by the designer Ralph Lysell but it did not came into production until 1955 and then in a modified version. It soon became a huge success all over the world. It could easily be moved from one room to another. All that was needed was extra sockets where wanted and you did not risk missing a call while moving it. The telephone itself had no bells, so a separate ring device had to be fitted somewhere in the house/apartment.
The designer Ralph Lysell was no doubt a very creative person and a competent designer. The only problem was that he was always ahead of his time. Apart from the telephone, he only got one more thing designed by him into serial production and that was the strange blinkers that Volvo PV444 had for a couple of years. The blinkers were fitted on the roof in a tiny little aircraft inspired device. This odd thing was commonly referred to as the “roof cuckoo” (though it was silent) – a nickname just as weird as the thing itself.
The designer may only have got two designs into production, but I am sure his name is found somewhere in the history of telephone.