Ericson table telephone, 1890.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
The Ericson company was founded by Lars Magnus Ericson (1846-1926), a Swedish telegraph instrument maker. After Bell invented the first telephone in 1876, people brought their phones to be repaired and two years later his firm, L M Ericson and Co, began producing their own phones. These were not technically innovative but, due to his training as an instrument maker, Ericson was able to improve existing designs to produce a higher quality instrument. His manual phones were used by the new Swedish telephone companies such as Rikstelefon to provide a cheaper service than the Bell Group could offer. By the early 20th century, the busines had expanded into Europe and the United States, and today Ericson has facilities in over 140 countries worldwide.