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Postwar marketing

Close up graphic of a Microprocessor

Future proofing the network : it's in your hands

The vision of the 1950s was of an all-seeing, all-knowing computerised network that would provide intelligent telephone services.

By the late 1980s, this had largely been achieved - but not quite in the way the planners had originally foreseen.

What they hadn't taken into account was the falling cost, greater capability and ever reducing size of processors. By the late 1970s, the new microprocessors were small and cheap enough to be placed in every kind of device - the telephones, fax machines and answer phones that plugged into the network.

In other words, more and more intelligence was delivered by the device rather than by the network. But the network still had to provide a suitable platform to allow the device to work well.

fun and games

Can you beat our games? Explode equipment to see what's inside, hear the changing sounds of telecommunications, see how telecommunications designs have changed over time or send an e-postacard.

what's on

The UK's first permanent gallery dedicated to the history of information and communication technologies opens in the new Information Age gallery at London’s Science Museum.

audio history

Take a trip down memory lane with extracts of the interviews which have been recorded as part of the Connected Earth oral history programme.

featured story

100 years of automatic switching!
In 1912 the GPO installed Britain's first automatic telephone exchange in Epsom.

Discover the early days of the telephone...