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?


Video: Local AT&T Ad for Colorado – 1987

“One company in Colorado designs and produces some of the world’s most sophisticated telecommunications  equipment. That company spends more than hundred million dollars for goods and services with nearly 2,700 local suppliers. And that company helps support local charities and the arts with over a million dollars and 1,500 volunteers.

That company is AT&T. At Home in Colorado.”

att westminster ad

As many the Avaya Red geeks out there would know the Westminster, Colorado facility was where most of the enterprise systems for AT&T, later Lucent then Avaya (including products such as the System 75, Definity, etc) was developed, produced and served locations for technical support (remember the Definity Helpline?)

att westminster ad 2

Within a couple years after Divestiture, AT&T had tried to refine their brand such as the the infamous tagline “The right choice”. This commercial taken from a newscast from KCNC-TV in Denver (not to far away from Westminster) apparently was designed for the Colorado market, focusing on their local suppliers and returning their favor to non profits, featuring children at the Denver Children’s Museum with kids playing with old sets, and a girl playing with a 7405 or 7434 set.

att westminster ad 3

Years have gone by, and Westminster is like many other high tech facilities in America. Abandoned and ether outsourced or off shored development to people who had no knowledge of the systems from its early years. Sadly the old AT&T legacy is going further into earth than say the other legacy IS systems and equipment. I don’t see the same outrage with actions like startups such as Emetrotel or even VMS Software (yes the same VMS as in Open VMS hiring local DEC coders basically from retirement to continue to develop that operating system!) No, it’s a slow death for Avaya Red. Westminster does still exist, and Avaya is still there, just it’s not all centralized like it once did.

This is one of the unique AT&T commercials of that time.



AT&T Modular Jacks – Vintage Video

This video embedded below is a long form video of AT&T’s modular telephone offerings. Back before there were AT&T stores for cell phones, AT&T had Phone Center Stores for consumers to purchase telephones, as the requirement to “lease” was starting to fade away, and especially after the Divesture in 1984. As the AT&T Tech’s YouTube channel had recently commented, these offerings made it easier for customers to install equipment themselves, since wait times from the Bell companies were ether too long, or they had inconvenient scheduling avalibilities with the customer or Bell themselves.

Humm… that reminds me of the modern days with the Comcast or Big Cable Companies and the difficulties to get a tech to come on your schedule and dare I say “leasing” modems and crappy Ci$co boxes.

The first part of this video was already part of another uploaded video showing all the consumer telephones AT&T had offered. That video, was pretty laughable because it was very cheesy and the actors that portrayed those packaged videos must had been internal workers enjoying themselves.

The embedded video is just plain laughable about the sexism as of 1985. The wife goes to the Phone Center, gets her stuff, comes home and rushes to get the phone set up before the husband gets into the house! Whats even more funnier is how he looks down at his wife like “I didn’t think ladies could wire up phones” then at the end of the first clip saying “you could even fix the patio light.”

In this vintage video, the husband is featured in another segment going to The Phone Center and asking how to wire additional phones. Even more laughable because this hot shot who thought his woman couldn’t wire a Trimline couldn’t even test his phone properly because he didn’t even plug it in!

This video (and the other one) made me laugh up a storm between the cheesy acting and the sexism back in those days!

And is the world of IT when it comes to telecom jobs, it skews higher to females? I wonder if there is a reason why that is…