Today, most telephones, either landline or mobile, contain a speaker phone function, but this hasn’t always been the case. Shown here from 70 years ago is a very early version, the Jordaphone, shown here in the January 1948 issue of Popular Mechanics. The article notes that groups could now sit in on meetings without individual telephones with the instrument that “looks like a console radio.”
The article also stressed one important fact, that the Jordaphone “is not actually connected with the telephone line.” As those of us who grew up in the 1960’s and earlier are aware, the telephone line and “the instrument” were sacred, they were property of Ma Bell, and that tapping into the line was absolutely forbidden.
This device had a workaround. The telephone handset was set in a cradle in the top, and inductively coupled to the Jordaphone.