Wired Reread: AT&T's "strap-on telephone"


Image (large size): One of many vintage ads from old issues of Wired Magazine at wiredreread.com, a site created by Theis Søndergaard. This one for an AT&T "strap-on telephone" appeared in 1995. Be sure to use your fancy new 28.8 modem when you call up that website on the internet.


  1. A 28.8 modem!
    I gotta start saving cos this 300 Baud Acoustic coupler is damn slow now days.

    1. I’m glad I’m not the only one who made that jump immediately… what an unfortunate phrase for use in an ad-campaign.

  2. Thank God this never took off. A strap-on that also called the next day would have made all men redundant.

  3. Dick Tracy had that in the 1940s! But seriously, that was when AT&T thought that they would be around forever. Little did they know that Nokia would eat their lunch.

  4. But… but… they already had cellphones back in 1995… The Motorola Star Tac (the first cellphone you could truly fit in a pocket) was released early in 1996. Telling the forward-thinking, early-adopter crowd that read Wired that wireless phones were “in the near future” is cluelesness on a scale I never encountered.

  5. Actually, we did invent a wrist phone back at AT&T Bell Labs a few years before this ad ran. But the art designers modified most of the prototypes underlying the ad campaign, sometimes dramatically. See http://www.genuineideas.com/HallofInventions/Wristphonestory/wristphonestory.htm

    Unfortunately, about the same time AT&T exited the consumer products business. And then decided to spin off its wireless unit. So the future was farther away than first thought.

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