38 years ago, on April 3, 1973, Martin Cooper, and engineer for Motorola made the first public cellular phone call. The purpose of the call was to show the FCC the new and amazing technology they had developed; a technology that would need FCC approval and an allocated frequency band to see it put into practical application.
The cell phone, the Motorola DynaTAC, was a cream-colored brick weighing 2.2 pounds. Talk time on the device was an amazing 35 minutes. The presentation to FCC had Mr. Cooper walking along a street in New York City in front of the New York Hilton hotel. The phone call he made was to the head of Bell Labs’ research department, Dr. Joel Engel. With the call placed, Mr. Cooper then handed the cell phone to journalists so that they could confirm that the phone did indeed work and this wasn’t some sort of elaborate hoax.
While I was just a child in 1973, I do remember those phones. I even held one once and spoke through it. Of course, I didn’t actually own a cell phone until many years later.
We’ve come a long way since that day 38 years ago; phones are smaller, lighter, with batteries that last for days and abilities far beyond that of making a simple telephone call. They are also more affordable; back then, only the elite and special services had cellular phones. Nowadays, we all have one – including our kids. However, at the time, what Mr. Cooper did was simply amazing.