ARTE FRANCE, LAPSUS
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In 1930, Jean Heiberg was asked to design a bakelite telephone (up till then, telephones had been made out of metal).
In 1930, Jean Heiberg was asked to design a bakelite telephone. This novel idea (up till then, telephones had been made out of metal) was a joint venture by the Norsk Elektrisk Bureau and the Swedish company Ericsson. Before the year was up, Heiberg had produced the huge painted plaster prototype of the DBH 1001 (the inner works were designed by the Norwegian engineer Johan Christian Bjerknes).
Bakelite - a solid resin invented by Baekeland in 1909 - was the first synthetic plastic. Its manufacture and commercial success launched the plastics industry. The close connection between bakelite and the telephone was a relationship that made sense, and it continued to have a profound and lasting influence on telephone design into the 1950s.
First produced in 1932, the DBH 1001 was sold throughout Scandinavia, in Britain, Italy, Greece and Turkey, and (through Siemens) in France and the USA, and came to be seen as one of the symbols of the 20th century. In 1937, Ericsson manufactured the Model 332, which was very similar to the DBH 1001, for the GPO, in England, and in the same year Henry Dreyfuss designed the Scandinavian-influenced Model 300 for Bell Telephone Laboratories in the USA.
LM Ericsson, founded in 1876 in Stockholm by Lars Magnus Ericsson, was the first company to produce combined telephone and bell sets. Following the success of the DBH 1001, in 1954 the firm launched another ground-breaking model, the Ericofon, which was to remain the leading product in the combined set market for over thirty years. Then came the era of mobile telephones and satellite transmissions. Today the company is in serious difficulties.