Is this the ultimate retro mobile phone?

Portatronic Systems Portable Executive Telephone, 1968

They didn't have mobile phones in the sixties...... Oh yes they did, and it wasn't only in science fiction. The perfect, handy accessory for any top executive on the move was this Portatronic Systems Portable Executive Telephone from 1968, which enabled the executive to always stay in touch with the office whilst on the move.

The Portatronic Systems Portable Executive Telephone had a self-contained antenna, a quick charging rechargeable battery and a "discreet" light and buzzer to signal incoming calls.

It cost around $2,000. (You could have bought a pretty good executive car for that in 1968). The phone weighed 19lb. There were only 11 channels available for conversation and there was a confidentiality issue, as you could hear conversations on the other channels. Nevertheless, it was the closest you could get to a mobile phone in the 60s.

The Portatronic Systems Portable Telephone was a miniaturised car phone. Car phones were very cutting edge in the late sixties, you would probably only find one in a Rolls Royce or Cadillac. The portable phone was something else.

Read an original article in Time Magazine: Hello Mobile

For more great retro technology see Sixties Gadgets

What about a retro mobile phone that you could buy today?

You cannot buy a Portatronic Systems Portable Executive Telephone today, but you are able to get something similar. The original brand was Pokia, but they changed their name to Hulger after Nokia objected. You have to use a conventional mobile phone or computer with blue tooth, but the handset looks retro enough. We have not tried one of these, but if you have, please do let us know.

Go to for more info.

There was also a cheaper alternative, the Phobile, see Phobile retro mobile phone headset, but it seems to be no longer available.

Phones from the 80s

The mobile phone was, of course, more associated with the 80s. If you want a phone from that era try where you can pick up an 80s' brick for around £50. This seems a bargain to me as they were very expensive at the time, so there cannot be that many around. It is bound to go up in value -  just look at how expensive early Bakelite phones are today.

Your comments

"Great handset I would by one of these now if I could, only thing is I dislike no camera :) But better than any Nokia or SE "David

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20th Century History ★ Antiques & Collectables

Retrowow - vintage, retro and social history

★ 20th Century History ★ Antiques & Collectables ★