The telephonoscope was an early conceptual precursor to the television, combining Edison’s new telephone technology with transmittable moving pictures. It appeared in a variety of cartoons during the late nineteenth century as a fictional invention by Thomas Edison, including this image by George du Maurier, published in Punch in 1878. In the image, a father and mother chat with their daughters in Ceylon over a telephonoscope, allowing them to both hear and see each other.
The telephonoscope includes both a prediction of television’s place in the home and the concept of responding to the televised image.
Kathryn VanArendonk is a grad student. She watches a lot of television, and likes to think about nineteenth century novels.
telephonoscope at gma.il dot com
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