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Entries in telephone (13)

Monday
Apr182011

Talking of Tomorrow (1962)

Talking of Tomorrow is a short animated film that was produced for Bell Labs and released in either 1960 or 1962. Directed by Jetsons writer Chuck Couch, the film tells the story of a business executive from the future who works for an "interspace engineering company."

This executive works in a soundproof room attached to his house and doesn't have to worry about commuting or traffic jams -- yet still wears a suit, tie and hat to work. Why dress up if you're working from home? Because, of course, Mr. Future Executive lives in a world of videophones!

Business, school and play in this retrofuturistic utopia all depend on the highly advanced communications technologies brought to you by Bell Telephone Labs. Documents -- or "business materials" as they call them -- are exchanged by "telephonic machines." Lasers transmit phone calls and TV shows from space. Data processing machines... um... process data.

Kids get school help from tutors via videophone, wristwatch radio telephones are all the rage with teenagers, and windowshopping becomes that much easier with picturephone.

The character design of Talking of Tomorrow instantly reminded me of both the Pink Panther shorts as well as the Rocky and Bullwinkle series. Perhaps someone more educated in animation history can scan the credits and tell us where those connections might be. 

NOTE: You can watch the video at the AT&T Archives site, but I didn't like how it looked while embedded, so I ripped my own copy from the DVD set of Invaders from Space and Atomic Rulers.


Sunday
Jan302011

Face to Face Phone Calls (1957)

 

In this ad from the March, 1957 issue of Scientific American we see John Q. Businessman making a "face to face" telephone call. The ad declares that thanks to the Hughes Tonotron and other products from the Hughes Aircraft Company people will soon see "on the wall television, electronic control of factory production, and countless other marvels."

Thanks to Brad Fidler for this scan.

 

Previously on Paleofuture:

 

Sunday
Aug302009

Portable Telephones (1976)

The 1976 book Future Facts is filled with predictions of artificial life, underwater cities and traveling from New York to Los Angeles in 21 minutes. Though the last excerpted line is pretty hilarious, this prediction of the "portaphone" of the future is surprisingly accurate.

A hand-held, completely portable telephone will make it possible to place calls while riding in a bus, walking down the street or sitting in a restaurant. Developed by Motorola, Inc., the first "portaphone" system will be installed in New York City by 1976.

The portaphone looks like a fat Princess phone or a high-fashion walkie-talkie. Weighing less than three pounds, the unit can dial and receive calls anywhere within FM signal range of the system's computer-controlled receivers.

As the caller talks over the portaphone, his voice is radioed to the nearest receiver. The signal is relayed into a central computer, then fed into conventional telephone lines. The computer can track the speaker as he moves about the city, switching the conversation to different receivers to maintain a loud and clear connection.

A portable phone user can contact any conventional or portable phone. The initial cost will be $60 to $100 per month, but as the market demand increases, the costs are expected to go down.

The FCC has proposed 115 MHz of spectrum including channels 73 through 88 for two-way applications. Portaphone will probably operate in that frequency range.

Each telephone has a pushbutton keyboard; it's dialed like a conventional pushbutton phone.

Motorola sees a bright future for the portaphone: "We expect there'll be heavy usage by a widely diverse group of people -- businessmen, journalists, doctors, housewives, virtually anyone who needs or wants telephone communications in areas where conventional telephones are unavailable."

For a while at least, the portaphone will remain a business tool or luxury item. In time, however, portaphones will get smaller and cheaper, just as transistor radios have.

One day you'll call almost anyone, anywhere. You could have instantaneous contact with your doctor or the police. People might be brought closer together than ever before -- with the potential to be in voice contact with others. Next step: two-way wrist radios?

Previously on Paleo-Future:

Monday
Jan282008

How Experts Think We'll Live in 2000 A.D. (1950)


The December 27, 1950 Robesonian (Lumberton, NC) ran an Associated Press article titled, "How Experts Think We'll Live in 2000 A.D." The article covered the future of movies, commercial flight, space travel, medicine and women, among many other topics. Can you believe that by the year 2000 a woman may be president of the United States? Apparently not.

Some highlighted predictions of the piece appear below. A transcribed version of the article in its entirety can be found on my other blog, Older Than Me.

- Third dimensional color television will be so commonplace and so simplified at the dawn of the 21st century that a small device will project pictures on the living room wall so realistic they will seem to be alive. The room will automatically be filled with the aroma of the flower garden being shown on the screen.

- The woman of the year 2000 will be an outsize Diana, anthropologists and beauty experts predict. She will be more than six feet tall, wear a size 11 shoe, have shoulders like a wrestler and muscles like a truck driver. She will go in for all kinds of sports – probably will compete with men athletes in football, baseball, prizefighting and wrestling.

- Wireless transmission of electric power, long a dream of the engineer, will have come into being. There will be no more power lines to break in storms. A simple small antenna on the roof will pick up the current for lighting a house.

- The Third World War - barring such a miracle as has never yet occurred in relations between countries so greatly at odds - will grow out of Russia's exactly opposite attempts to unify the world by force.

- The telephone will be transformed from wire to radio and will be equipped with the visuality of television. Who’s on the other end of the line will seldom be a mystery. Evey pedestrian will have his own walking telephone – an apparatus by a combination of the X-ray and television. Electronic appendectomies will be performed with an X-ray-TV camera, projection screen and electric “knives” – the latter actually being electrodes functioning without puncturing the skin.

- In 2000 we shall be able to fly around the world in a day. We shall be neighbors of everyone else on earth, to whom we wish to be neighborly.

- The nation's industrial and agricultural plant will be able to support 300 million persons 50 years from now - twice the present population. Land now unproductive will be made to yield. Science will steadily increase crop production per acre. Technological, industrial and economic advances will give the American people living standards eight times as high as now.

- Public health will improve, especially the knowledge of how air carries infections, like the common cold, from person to person. Before 2000, the air probably will be made as safe from disease-spreading as water and food were during the first half of this century.

- Space platforms, sent out from earth, will end mid-century’s “iron curtain” era by bringing the entire globe under constant surveillance.

- Combination automobile-planes will have been perfected.

- People will live in houses so automatic that push-buttons will be replaced by fingertip and even voice controls. Some people today can push a button to close a window – another to start coffee in the kitchen. Tomorrow such chores will be done by the warmth of your fingertip, as elevators are summoned now in some of the newest office buildings – or by a mere whisper in the intercom phone.

- Radio broadcasting will have disappeared, for no one will tune in a program that cannot be seen. Radio will long since have reverted to a strictly communications medium, using devices now unheard of and unthought of.

- Some movie theaters of A.D. 2000 may be dome-shaped, with ceiling and walls arching together like the sky. These surfaces would be the “screen.” Most action would still be in front of you, as now. But some could be overhead, some at the sides, and some even on the wall behind. A little girl steps into a street in the action before you – and you turn around and look behind you to see if an auto is coming.

- Through the extended use of better plants and animals, improved fertilizers, new growth regulators and more efficient machinery, it should be possible, leaders say, for farmers to produce future crop needs on much less land than today.

- Some see us drifting toward the all-powerful state, lulled by the sweet sound of “security.” Some see a need to curb our freedom lest it be used to shield those who plot against us. And some fear our freedom will be hard to save if a general war should come.

- So tell your children not to be surprised if the year 2000 finds 35 or even a 20-hour work week fixed by law.


The piece was written by the following specialists of The Associated Press: J.M. Roberts, Jr., foreign affairs; Howard W. Blakeslee, science; Sam Dawson, economics; Dorothy Roe, women; Alexander George, population; James J. Strebig, aviation; David G. Bareuther, construction; C.E. Butterfield, television; Gene Handsaker, movies; Ovid A. Martin, agriculture; Ed Creagh, politics; Norman Walker, labor; David Taylor Marke, education.

 

See also:
After the War (1944)
Will War Drive Civilization Underground? (1942)
Taller Women by Year 2000 (1949)
Tomorrow's TV-Phone (1956)
Disney's Magic Highway, U.S.A. (1958)
The Future is Now (1955)
Closer Than We Think: Headphone TV (1960)
Transportation in 2000 A.D. (1966)
I want an oil-cream cone! (1954)
The Complete Book of Space Travel (1956)

Friday
Jan252008

Monsanto House of the Future Brochure (1961)


The excellent Disney blog Stuff from the Park has scans of a 1960s brochure for the Monsanto House of the Future.

The piece explains that, "The erection of the Monsanto 'Plastics Home of the Future' at Disneyland in the summer of 1957 provided a practical demonstration of the almost limitless potential of plastics in structural applications." Much like the article on the future of glass we looked at last week, this piece centers around selling consumers goods which are positioned as "futuristic." Insert reference to The Graduate here.

Some of the "outstanding equipment of advanced design on display in the 'plastics home of the future'' are listed below:

"Atoms for Living Kitchen" featuring micro-wave cooking and ultra-sonic dishwashing.

 

Telephones with preset and push-button dialing, "hands-free" speakers and transmitters, and viewing screen to see the person who is calling.

Modular bathrooms with lavoratory, tub, walls and floor molded in units.

Foamed-in-place rigid urethane plastic foam for insulation and structural strength and flexible urethane foam for cushioning furniture and rugs.

Climate control center which filters, cools, heats and scents the air in each room independently.

Foam-backed plastic floor covering with controlled resiliency and noise-reducing properties.

"Acrillan" acrylic fiber and Chemsbrand nylon for upholstery, draperies and carpeting.


See also:
Monsanto House of the Future (1957-1967)
Monsanto House of the Future (1957)

 

Tuesday
Dec112007

2000 A.D. (Part 1, 1990)

Thursday
Nov012007

Pacific Bell Concept Video (1991)