Throwback Thursday: Do You Remember Your First Cell Phone?

Old Cell Phone

It's rumored that some the next wave of smartphones will be announced in the next couple of weeks and we can only imagine the features and gimmicks that will accompany these machines within the next year and beyond. But cellular phones were not always so smart back in the "old days" of even a decade ago. In fact, if you can believe it, at one time all you could do on a cell phone was make a phone call.

Tell us what you remember about your first cell phone. Was it a hulking device similar to that of Saved by the Bell's Zack Morris? Did you play Snake II for hours with your early 2000s device? Do you remember having to pop your antenna out for extra signal? Share your memories!

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }


Rose Richardson October 14, 2014 at 10:30 am

I never had a cell phone until I was grown. That was part of the era I grew up in, we have a house phone with a rotary (wheel) face and that was used for business use by the adults. The children had no need to use the phone unless called to it by an adult.


Bonnie C September 5, 2014 at 9:54 am

My first phone was also through the Hopkins $7/month plan. My recollection is that it was almost as big (or maybe slightly bigger) than the smart phones of today and would ONLY make calls. We caved in and got a cell phone in the early- to mid-'90's when I had a disturbing experience at a bus stop. There were no pay phones in sight (they had been removed due to drug dealers using them), and the streets were pretty deserted (a little after 6 p.m. on a January evening). We went with a very basic plan & options package. We've upgraded to different styles and added options over the years (I've probably owned 6 different phones over the past almost 20 years. Now I carry my life in my cell phone (including photos of dear friends & family). I'm very careful where I use the phone, and always check my surroundings if I'm at a bus stop, or otherwise exposed, before even taking it out of my pocket (and never carry it in my purse).


Ajayia Harris September 5, 2014 at 7:39 am

I was 18 when I got my first cell phone. I tought I was the coolest kid in town!!! Considering the fact that I was living in Calver County and reception was not great at least I had one is what I kept telling myself!!! COULDN'T TALK TO A SOUL!!!!!


Irv September 4, 2014 at 4:45 pm

The Motorola brick...weighed 3 lbs and was more than a foot long with antenna. It looked like a World War II walkie-talkie and was indestructible. Had better battery life than my car! It came with a zip-case holster which, if you clipped it to your belt, would lower your pants to half-mast. All you could do with them was make phone calls. And yet we felt so modern and hip with those.


Ronni September 4, 2014 at 4:14 pm

I remember have to wait til after 9pm to use the "free nights/weekends" that was the pits and ALMOST everyone's first phone was a nokia... lol, i frown upon them now 😀


tom f. September 4, 2014 at 3:40 pm

We took geriatrics call until the early '90s without cellphones due to the fact that there were none. I left many a kid soccer game to go look for a payphone. When I kvetched Rick Bennett, also junior geriatrics faculty back then, told me that soon we'd have phones in our pockets. I thought he'd been watching too much TV. The first one we got for the Division was as big as a loaf of bread.


tom f. September 4, 2014 at 3:36 pm

In the early 90's we took night and weekend calls on geriatrics without cell phones, as they were none. I left many a kid's soccer game to go look for a payphone. When I kvetched, Rick Bennet told me that one day soon we would carry phones in our pockets. I thought he'd been watching too much TV. The Division got one shortly thereafter, big as a loaf of bread.


Maren September 4, 2014 at 2:52 pm

Snake! That game was a great consumer of time.


Francine Whie, RN CCM September 4, 2014 at 2:45 pm

The Motorola Star Tac circa 1996 !! I MISS you !! I remember none of the details, except how cool I felt flipping that little black honey open and extending the retractable antenna. It never broke, never quit, never failed. It must have been a grade of plastic with miliary applications, because that phone stood up to soooo much abuse without a crack. Of couse you couldn't text and it only had one ring tone . The only thing it couldn't overcome was the accidental pocket drop into the toilet!!


Toni Keller, PA-C September 4, 2014 at 8:10 am

I was sure I would be the last person on earth to get a cell phone. I thought of my time in the car as my personal time and I did not want to be interrupted. But then I was offered a good deal and decided to get one. It was about the size of a 2" notebook and I kept it in the car. I never used it. Then one rainy day I was involved in an early morning head-on collision with another car. No one was hurt, but both cars were badly damaged. I got out that phone, called my mechanic, who sent a tow truck, called my insurance company to report the accident and called my husband for a ride back home. I let the fellow how hit me use it to call a tow truck and let his employeer know he was going to be late. Everyone arrived and the accident was cleared in no time. I am now a true believer of cell phones and their "necessity".


Ron Wardrope September 4, 2014 at 8:05 am

My first cell phone was in 1992 from Cellular One who had a $7.00 a month plan that you paid per minute for Hopkins Employees. The minutes were $0.15 cents a minute and it was a Bag Phone. You sure didnt use it as often as we do today, you just left it in the car in case of an emergency as it would only charge in a cigarette lighter.


David September 4, 2014 at 7:15 am

Back in the 1970's some people had car phones and you could listen to the conversations on a multiband radio.


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