Early picturephone ad

From the annals of history, this ad for Western Electric's picture phone, which wouldn't catch on for decades more -- probably needed more Chatroulette.

It Seemed Like a Good Idea: The Picture Phone


  1. FYI, duplicate posting by you Cory three months ago: http://boingboing.net/2011/08/11/1960s-western-digital-videophone-ad.html

    Also by Joel two years ago: http://gadgets.boingboing.net/2009/03/27/15-vintage-household.html

  2. I read somewhere that this actually got pretty popular, but soon the burden of always have to be looking your best constantly wearing an expression of attentive listening wore people out, especially buying the telephone masks and then later the transmittable tableaux, and the whole thing died out.

    1. I had an experience like what you are alluding to the other day. Some colleagues requested a video call instead of a phone call (they work for a subsidiary that makes video phones, ‘natch). If it had been a phone call, I might not have noticed that they were all blowing me off, not interested in the thing they asked me to talk about. Given it was a video call, their lack of interest was totally obvious and I’m still pissed at them and try not to talk to them. There’s a real game changing technology for you… worse collaboration, through the magic of video.


  3. Why would anyone want to see the person to whom they are talking? It ruins the imaginary image, which is going to be way better. 

  4. What I find hilarious and absurd is that although we have the technology to easily make video phone calls so many people are hooked on their ridiculous pocket telegraphs. They even stare obsessively at the 3 inch screens of their devices while walking around in the 3 dimensional world and operating dangerous vehicles.

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