The 1879 Cartoon That Predicted Skype

Shaunacy Ferro
The Public Domain Review
The Public Domain Review / The Public Domain Review

Long before the Internet or even television, someone was thinking about video chat. Cartoonist George du Maurier, drawing in the Punch Almanack for 1879, came up with the idea for “Edison’s Telephonoscope,” a made-up technology that Edison never invented. 

The technology is described as transmitting “light as well as sound.” The cartoon’s caption reads: 

Every evening, before going to bed, Pater and Materfamilias set up an electric camera obscura over their bedroom mantel-piece, and gladden their eyes with the sight of their Children at the Antipodes [Australia and New Zealand], and converse gaily with them through the wire.

And so video chat was born! It’s probably for the best that du Maurier couldn't have envisioned all the dumb, inane things we could do with Periscope. 

[h/t: The Public Domain Review]