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1878 December 9

Edison's Telephonoscope


Source: Terra Media Archives

George du Maurier's cartoon of 'an electric camera-obscura' is often cited as an early prediction of television. It also anticipates the videophone, wide screen formats and flat screens.
        The screen is approximately 2 metres wide and has an aspect ratio of 2.7:1, the same as Ultra Panavision.

Text:
EDISON'S TELEPHONOSCOPE (TRANSMITS LIGHT AS WELL AS SOUND).
(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, and converse gaily with them through the wire.)
Paterfamilias (in Wilton Place).
"Beatrice, come closer. I want to whisper.Beatrice (from Ceylon). "Yes, Papa dear."
Paterfamilias. "Who is that charming young Lady playing on Charlie's side?"
Beatrice. "She's just come over from England, Papa. I'll introduce you to her as soon as the Game's over!"

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Page updated 25 August 2008
David Fisher