The First Cell Phone Call

Friday, April 06, 2012


Last week marked the anniversary of the first public cell phone call. It was 1973, ten years before cell phones would become commercially available and many more years before they would become wildly popular. Bob speaks with Martin Cooper, the former Motorola-man who made the first call about his company's rivalry with AT&T and the future of cell phones.


The Durutti Column - Sketch for Summer


Martin Cooper

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Bob Garfield

Comments [3]

Chris Gray from New Haven, CT

As a fan of Hedy Lamar, I was disappointed her contribution to the development of this technology in the '40s.

Apr. 13 2012 08:28 AM
Suzanne from Red Hook, Brooklyn

Oddly, I remember 1968 for 2 reasons: I was 12, we got a new car (a station wagon!), and we went to California, to Disneyworld, in August. The reason we went was because my Dad's company wanted to get a phone put in the corporate jet. A small Learjet, I think, with a DeHaviland engine, as I recall (my dad was its Chief Mechanic).

He said there were three place in the country a phone could be put in a plane, and LA was one of them, so that's where we went. So ... what kind of phone got put in that plane? I saw it with my own two eyes on the return flight back to Pittsburgh, PA.

My father worked at that time for the now-defunct Koppers Company, a chemical firm (I have the hazy memory that they made styrofoam cups, but I could be wrong), from whom he was forced to retire in 1980 at the age of 62 (dad died in 2005).

What is the truth in this story? What kind of phone _was_ installed in that plane?

One more mystery about my dad: my dad said he met Amelia Earhart at an air show and got her autograph, long since lost. He grew up in Latrobe, PA. Could this have happened?

Happy Easter!

Apr. 08 2012 03:46 PM
Wick Smith from Bridgewater, NJ

I'm surprised that people outside the Hilton were agog at seeing someone talking on what would have looked like a walkie talkie. I think Mr. Cooper may have imagined with rosy historicsl what they would have thought had they known it was a telephone.

Apr. 08 2012 10:44 AM

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