Retro Tech Gadgets From An Electronic Free Era

Retro Tech Gadgets From An Electronic Free Era

Joel Pirela
Feb 25, 2011

With all the technology surrounding us every day, it's very difficult to imagine a time where none of this was available. These were the real gadgets of yesteryear, when life was lived at a different pace and most tasks where achieved using low tech solutions.

Olivetti Valentine Typewriter
Ettore Sottsass Jr. is an Italian architect and designer. He's also responsible for all the designs of Olivetti office machines and furniture for twenty years. With the bright red Olivetti Valentine with orange spools, he brings pop-art into the typewriter world. Could the split with traditional design be any greater? The plastic Valentine, which is as light as a feather, is immediately called a design icon and takes pride of place in many design museums. They can be obtained in grey (rare), blue (rarer) and green (rarer still).

Ericofon Telephone
The Ericofon, made by the L M Ericsson Company of Sweden, is perhaps one of the biggest steps forward in telephone design. World War II had produced a number of new materials. From Plastics to lightweight ferromagnetic materials, the door was opened for a new era in telephone development. In the late 1940s, Ericsson put together a design team, headed up by H G (Gosta) Thames, to come up with a new design for the telephone. The main purpose was to make the phone small, lightweight, and easy to use. After several prototypes, a design was settled upon and that one that went into production for the next 2 decades. 1954 marked the beginning of production for the Ericofon. Originally it was intended for institutional use. They found out, their biggest customers, were hospitals. Imagine laying in a hospital bed, trying to reach over to a desk phone to dial. The one piece design of the Ericofon seemed to be "just what the doctor ordered".

Leica M3 Film Camera
Leica needs no introduction to photographers worldwide. The name has been synonymous with high quality since the birth of 35mm format photography, when Oscar Barnack, created the first Leica camera and took some modified motion picture film to use in his camera that gave birth to the 35mm format in 1913 (Leica did not market a commercial product until 1924 though). The curiosity of the M3 is that it is actually the first bayonet lens mount rangefinder made by Leica, not the third. The M2 camera came after and the M3 represents how many viewfinder outlines are available as standard for 50, 90, and 135mm lenses. Using a Leica M means that you have to look different at picture opportunities than with an reflex. You might tend to think, that you need a motor drive, but that is not true. At the supreme moment you know you can rely on your camera and that what you see is what you'll get on your negative.

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