Home:  Subscriber Apparatus: NORTHERN TELECOM DISPLAY TELEPHONE, 1979


View all Subscriber Apparatus


Only stores phone Numbers and addresses, and other general information, once the number has been selected the unit phones automatically.

Your comments:

  • Displayphone

    I had the pleasure of leading the U.S. manufacturing team for the Displayphone. The date of the first production unit was recorded at 3:07 PM CST, January 26, 1982 at 9701 Data Park, Minnetonka, Minnnesota, U.S.A.
    The Displayphone was the first Integrated Voice and Data unit. It was the first tangible product that marked the convergence of the telephone and computer industries. It functioned both as an advanced telephone and as an unintelligent or dumb ASCII data terminal with a slide out QWERTY keyboard. The computer memory provided automatic connection and stored both telephone directories, dial-up bulletin board numbers, and data connection profiles and emulations. The unit supported connectors for two telephone lines, a serial port for connection to computer workstations, and a parallel printer port. An Okidata printer was marketed with the Displayphone. The unit's software and computing capabilities enabled asynchronous terminal emulations, such as VT100, VT52 and IBM 3101, allowing interoperation with many of the local host computers and workstations of the time. An RS-232 port accessory was added to support Coax connection to IBM 3274/3276 and to other ASCII hosts. The original terminal had an internal 300 baud modem, which was soon upgraded to 1200 baud.
    The SL1 version of the Displayphone operated in concert with the SL1 PBX and used soft keys to present appropriate functions for the state of the voice call. In other words, when a call was in progress, the soft keys presented relevant functions such as call transfer, call hold/resume, and termination.
    The Displayphone and SL1 PBX were soon followed by the Meridian SL-1 PBX, the first integrated voice and data PBX. Meridian introduced the ability for personal computers to communicate with a wide range of hosts and other data devices via standard telephone wiring. Using a RS-232 interface the Meridian connected to modem pools, X.25 PADS, LAN terminal servers and other communication devices.
    To provide context, the Displayphone was introduced at approximately the time of the first IBM PC, which was announced in Aug, 1981, and prior to the IBM XT in March, 1983. Neither the IBM AT nor the Apple Macintosh had yet been announced, Aug 15, 1984 and January 22, 1984. While LANs were initially available in the late 1970's due to CP/M based PC's and DOS in 1981, Novell Netware was not introduced until 1983.


    Dick Hawley

    .......... Richard C. Hawley (Dick), Excelsior, MN, USA, 23rd of October 2012

Add a memory or information about this object


©2007 The Museum of Technology, The Great War and WWII
Company registered in England No. 7452160, Registered Charity No. 1140352, Accredited Museum No. 2221