Remembering home phones and ologies

BT is looking back at the development of the home phone, and it's made me all nostalgic for my Sceptre 100

Jason Jenkins Director of content / EMEA
Jason Jenkins is the director of content for CNET in EMEA. Based in London, he has been writing about technology since 1999 and was once thrown out of Regent's Park for testing the UK's first Segway.
Jason Jenkins
2 min read

Home phones don't usually inspire my gadget lust, but a message in my inbox yesterday reminded me that I used to think they were the most fascinating things ever in the 80s.

It might sound more than a little sad now, but I have a vivid memory of clutching my Mr Whippy in the Army and Navy with eyes agog at the Sceptre 100 -- and unlike the broken rental model we had just given back to BT, it had push buttons rather than a dial.

Beattie Bellman: her son has an ology

It was a note from BT's PR that inspired this reminiscing, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the cordless phone. They have put together this Web site with a telephony timeline, which apart from shamelessly plugging some seriously awful modern handsets (does anyone actually own a BT videophone?), gets interesting for me around the 80s, with ringtones of popular handsets of the time, and videos of memorable ads.

Some of them are funny to look back on, particularly the one of grandparents celebrating the advent of international direct dial -- fancy being able to call America without going through the operator!

But it also confirmed to me that BT has been responsible for some of the most irritating ads ever. Ladies and gentleman of the jury -- I give you Maureen Lipman as Beattie Bellman, Bob Hoskins with his "It's good to talk" and now Squillionaire Peter Jones as a man with no IT disaster-recovery strategy. No, we're not too sure what the connection is there either.

Guilty or not guilty?