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The Grillo telephone was designed in 1965 by Marco Zanuso and Richard Sapper. The telephone was manufactured in Italy by Società Italiana Telecomunicazioni Siemens (aka Telcer., the Italian arm of Siemens tel.)
The modern shape and design features were revolutionary for the 1960s. The fact that the phone could be manufactured in such a small package, during the 60s, set it apart from all other designs at the time. It incorporated a flip-design that opened automatically as the phone was picked up. This clam-shell design was to go on and eventually influenced the design of modern mobile telephones during the 90s and beyond. The name "Grillo" is Italian for cricket and was named so because the 'ringer', which was incorporated inside the wall plug, sounded like a cricket.
The dial of the Grillo phone employs an innovative solution to the design challenge of condensing the dial mechanism into a limited space, while still incorporating a finger-stop. The Grillo phone's dial couldn't employ a conventional finger-stop like the type found on conventional dial phones, but instead has a button within each of the dial's number holes, which, when depressed, pushes a pin through the back of the dial which stops the dial once it's turned to the dial's end position.
- ""Grillo" Telephone". Philadelphia Museum of Art. Retrieved 3 January 2015.