Dial With Soul: Steampunk Phone Combines Past and Future

It’s hard to look like a rugged adventurer or a super-tough pirate when you pull out a sleek smartphone and start texting. Designer Richard Clarkson created a phone that combines the modern functionality of a cell phone with the rugged, retro aesthetics of a rotary phone.

The Rotary Mechanical Smartphone features a modern touch screen on one side and a mechanical rotary dial on the other. The dial can be changed out rather like the lenses of a camera.

The longer the phone is carried around and used, the more attractive it will get: the overlying layer of paint will wear away to expose the electroplated copper body beneath.

According to the designer, this unusual marriage of modern and past technology is meant to add some personality and tangibility back into our everyday objects. There is more value, says Clarkson, in those objects with life and personality than in the generic pieces of technology carried by millions of other people.

The unique phone is at once minimalist and steampunk. It combines the best parts of modern and vintage technology to create something that can function the way we expect it to but keep touch with the solid mechanical feel of gadgets of years past.

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See more in Phones & Mobile or under Gadgets. June, 2011.