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Mobile Phone Museum online catalogue features 25 years of technology

by Susan and Simon Veness

Mobile Phone Museum, the brainchild of Ben Wood and Matt Chatterley, features more than 2,000 mobile handsets dating as far back as 1984.

Mobile Phone Museum Ben Wood
Ben Wood, co-founder Mobile Phone Museum.
Photo by Mobile Phone Museum

In 2004, mobile phone collector and industry veteran Ben Wood, and former Nokia employee Matt Chatterley, turned their appreciation for the cell phone industry and its innovations into a business venture, through the launch of the online Mobile Phone Museum.

The museum delves into the history of its collection through high-resolution, multi-angle photos, many of which include detailed insight into the phone’s technology, launch date, weight, and features.

Each photo is clickable, and photos can be searched by type, brand, or year, or via the fun Collection menu, with subheadings such as “Ugliest,” “James Bond Phones,” “Luxury,” and “Japan.”

The project now boasts a team of seven dedicated enthusiasts, and visitors to the website are encouraged to donate their old devices by checking out the Most Wanted page, or browsing the catalogue to see if the phone they’d like to donate is not already part of the collection. When a phone is chosen for display, the doner’s name will be listed on the website.

Multinational telecommunications company,Vodafone has signed on as the lead sponsor of the project for the next five years, and in honor of the online collection’s launch, a single-day exhibit was held in London’s SoHo district. The event was attended by primary school children as a means of inspiring the next generation of innovators.

Mr. Wood was quoted in a variety of U.K. news outlets, including DailyMail.com and Metro.co.uk as saying, “This all started as a passion project over 25 years ago, so it’s immensely exciting to work with Vodafone to launch the museum and to see so many industry veterans and other friendly faces. None of this would have been possible without the extraordinary generosity and effort of a handful of eager volunteers, donors, and sponsors, so I want to thank them sincerely for their contributions.”

Why are the museum’s founders so intent on sharing the significance of the mobile phone industry? “No other invention in recent memory has shaped how we live more fundamentally than the mobile phone,” Mr. Wood said. “From the mobile payments to citizen journalism, always-on social media, and the ability to work anywhere, it’s difficult to overstate the importance of the mobile phone.

“It is a privilege to be able to recognize and celebrate the devices and people who have made such a significant contribution to the world, as we preserve that history and make it available to all by launching the Mobile Phone Museum.”

Curious about which mobile phone is Mr. Wood’s favorite? According to the website, it’s the Motorola V70. Mr. Chatterley is partial to the Nokia 9000 Communicator.

For more information and to view the collection, visit MobilePhoneMuseum.com.

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