The 1960s saw the rise of the Designer Phone. The British had the Trimphone, the Americans the Trimline, the Swedes the Ericofon. The Italians, always renowned for their design style, produced the Grillo, which in Italian means ‘cricket’. This phone was designed in 1965 by Marco Zanuso and Richard Sapper for SIT-Siemens of Italy. It can claim to be the forerunner of today’s many designs of mobile ‘flip-phones’. Lifting the body causes the microphone flap to open and the line is seized.

An interesting design feature is that the dial has contiguous finger-holes, like the Trimline and the Contempra, but has no visible finger stop, either fixed or moveable. Instead, the action of placing the finger in a dial hole depresses a button, which causes a pin within the dial to engage with an internal stop once the right amount of rotation has been made.

Grillo plug & buzzerThe compact design is partly achieved by placing a buzzer in the outsized plug, rather than in the phone itself. The Grillo won an Italian industrial design prize, the Compasso d’Oro (the Golden Compass), in 1967 and is also one of the telephones to have been selected by the New York Museum of Modern Art.