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My name is "Liliphon": the first automatic answering service from 1962

02/23/2011 - 07:25 AM

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An automatic answering service first went on sale to the public in 1962. As far back as 1927, an “answering service for absent callers” had been in use, though this had been manually carried out by operators at the exchange, who picked up instead of the called party if they failed to answer.

The 1962 service was completely automated. The device illustrated in this photo, a small rectangular box with the kind of buttons more usually found on radio sets, was connected in parallel to the telephone. Once it had been set up, the Liliphon, as the first model on sale was called, automatically picked up when the called party was absent or unwilling/unable to answer. The Liliphon’s magnetic tape could record up to 20 incoming messages.

 

The historical  image contained in this page is the property of Telecom Italia. Please contact the Telecom Italia Historical Archive calling the number + 39 0115729401 to be allowed to use it.