PAGER Inventor Alfred J. Gross 1950

PEOPLE WERE BEING PAGED long before there were pagers. The verb simply referred to efforts to publicly track someone down, whether a doctor in a hospital or a stray passenger at an airport.

But the actual gadget, the personal pager, was an essential belt accessory if you were a doctor, CEO, repairman, or drug dealer—before cellphone technology pretty much put it on the heap that includes the 8-track tape player and the CB radio.

The creation of Al Gross, the man also largely responsible for the walkies-talkie, the pager was designed for doctors and first put to use at New York’s Jewish Hospital in 1950. It didn’t hit the com-mercurial market until the 1970s, and early models didn’t transmit messages.

Using a dedicated radio frequency, it only notified the receiver that there was a message. Sound limiting? Then you weren’t paying attention in 1998, when pagers were at the peak of their popularity. Motorola was the biggest player, controlling 80 percent of the market.

Top 10 PAGER

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