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Early television/videophone concept, a forecast (almanac) for 1879, posted in the December 9th, 1878 issue of Punch Magazine as a cartoon print: "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?'
George du Maurier's cartoon of 'an electric camera-obscura' is often cited as an early prediction of television and also anticipated the videophone, in wide screen formats and flat screens. The screen is approximately 2 metres wide and appears to have an aspect ratio of 2.7:1, the same as Ultra Panavision. Artist: George Du Maurier, Published: Almanack for 1879
Skype is an idea that was conceived of by the Victorians, featured in movies in the 20s and became an icon for futurism, and yet the videophone has become ubiquitous independently of telecoms companies. How is it that an idea that could have been seen from such a long way off didn’t get developed by phone companies, leading to the ridiculous situation where a phone call costs money but a Skype video phone call is free? Here’s a visual history of early videophone concepts.
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