Vintage Video: AT&T’s Production of Consumer Telephones

This is one of my favorite classic AT&T video of designing, testing and producing AT&T telephones post Divestiture. I don’t recall posting this before, but this is kinda cool.

What’s strange is most corporate video moved from film to video such as Betacam, but AT&T was still on film till the end of the 1980s.

Today’s modern world of consumerizaton means disposing things in shorter time because plastics and printed boards are similar to a Michael Kors bag, because technology is a fashion. We have to replace it to be “secure” to be on “the latest and greatest” because the latter will always enable strong “security” – in the sales and innovation units of course! Nortel types tend to vintage shame. I find it unprofessional for people to vintage shame.  I do not agree with things of this nature. I also don’t have a problem if a phone is old as I am, if it works, why are we shaming people?


AT&T Bedminster – NOC Tour Circa 1987

Continuing on the theme of the Bedminster, NJ’s long time operations of the AT&T for network management of their Long Distance (also known as Long Lines) services.

The NOC goes back to the mid to late 1970s, but by 1987 a new operations center was needed. Out of the old flipper board, and a map that was half painted/ stickers and LEDs in between, to a modern looking 70+ rear projection video screens and then modern computer workstations in a war room like setup.

These sets of screengrabs comes from AT&T’s in house “video magazine” called Directions distributed to the AT&T employees.

If you want to see this in action, check out this link. 

Northern Telecom (Nortel) SL-1 & Porche Promotional Video

Another YouTube find recently was a video produced by Nortel back in the mid to late 1980s featuring a top of the line car companies of that time.

In this promotional video, it was produced before the Meridian 1 (1989 or so) and it featured the beginnings of ISDN before the ISDN got it’s name. Porche at the time was based in the Western part of the country, with a North American office and an operations office in Nevada with another plant in North Carolina. These plants used the Meridian SL-1 PBX that had the ability to use digital trunking to link up all the facilities and link their IBM mainframe system. This type of marriage would allow customers calling Porche to get screen pops and get customer information in a short period of time. If someone wanted to call another person at the other facility, the name and number would appear (“feature transparency”.)

I am not an expert of the Nortel ecosystem, but the SL1 platform was ridden with random letters for the various hardware/software capacities, and I do not know Nortels fully, so I can’t explain it.


What’s interesting is the full screen graphic that appears at the end of this clip. It was produced by their Santa Clara, California operations. Who would know that operations would become Avaya, and become the headquarters 30 years later? I’d take the cold, dark, least disastrous are of Jersey before working in the Crazy California anyday!