Telephone Answering Machine

Description (Brief)
This PhoneMate model PM-800S answering machine bears a label that reads: "California Public Utilities Commission Equipment Authorized for Direct Connection to Telephone Network." The Bell System resisted the development of telephone answering machines for several reasons, one of which was fear that devices produced outside of Bell’s tightly controlled research and testing environment might prove harmful to the overall system. California regulators adopted a certification program whereby manufacturers could demonstrate that their equipment would not damage Bell equipment, and hence was safe for customers to use.
Currently not on view
Object Name
telephone answering machine
recording device
answering machine
date made
ca 1975
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
plastic (overall material)
wood (overall material)
overall: 11.4 cm x 24.7 cm x 30.5 cm; 4 1/2 in x 9 3/4 in x 12 in
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Magnetic Recording
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Work and Industry: Electricity
Magnetic Recording
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
from PhoneTel Communications Inc., thru Daniel Henderson
Additional Media

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