Hey! What the hell happened to this?

lies

Yeah, I know – we have computers now.  But this ad is from the early 70s – so where was my Picturephone® when I was in high school?

Oh, and while we’re on the subject – where the hell is my flying rocket car?

2 thoughts on “Hey! What the hell happened to this?

  1. I guess Skype is the closest we have now, but yeah, I wondered quite the same thing when digging through my grandfather’s library, how come that invention didn’t catch on quicker?

    • There are several good reasons why the Picture Phone never made it.

      I worked for Western Electric in the NYC PR Department during the late 60’s and we found that aside from some major technical issues, (telephone operations were in transition from electro-mechanical switching to electronic and fiber optic cable was not yet in wide use), studies and surveys discovered that Americans were not ready to have themselves on TV screens at home.

      Funny as that sounds now with women’s necklines reaching their belt, people were pretty conservative and saw the device as invasive. Mom wasn’t about to answer the phone in her curlers and housecoat.

      We did set up Picture Phone Centers in some major cities, (NYC, Chicago, etc.), where you could go and have a video conference as long as the people at the other end had the same device. Originally, it was only in Black & White, so that didn’t help. The signal over the telephone network of those days wasn’t good or reliable and the cost to consumers was too high.

      There were a lot of neat gadgets heading for market in that time, many of them from Bell Labs. Mobile phones and FAX, for example, predated the cell phone by many years.

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