By Cory Doctorow at 2:32 pm Tue, Nov 8, 2011
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
Looks suspiciously like the early mac ads, with regards to the type treatment and imagery – feels very familiar.
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
OMG, it has buttons instead of a dial!
That really reminds me of one of the fake ads from GAMES magazine.
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.
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.
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.
Looks like something from a Terry Gilliam movie.
This was right between ads fro jetpacks and flying cars.
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.
Before Apple made arrangements to sell the iPhone with other carriers I made this little remix using this very ad: http://www.flickr.com/photos/outtacontext/4733433066/in/photostream
Mail (will not be published) (required)
ad, Gadgets, Old school
Submit a tip
The rules you agree to by using this website.
Who will be eaten first?
Jason Weisberger, Publisher
Ken Snider, Sysadmin