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Ye Olde "How-To" Videos - How To Dial A Telephone And More

It's amazing how quickly technology changes. Can you imagine that the phone company once thought we needed a (newsreel) video to know how to dial a telephone? Can you imagine Facebook or YouTube creating videos describing how the underlying technology gets their messages or videos to the zillions of teens who consume those services? Well, in 1939 RCA thought we needed a video explaining to the masses how television works. Take a look at the videos from yesterday that explain how to use the telephone (1927), the TV (1939), the typewriter (1943), the telegraph and fax machine (1946), the 8mm video camera (1967), and the Internet circa 1969 and 1993. Let me know if you have found similar old videos that describe technology from the past ... black and white clips preferred.

How to Dial a Rotary Telephone in 1927

Can you imagine a newsreel describing how do dial a telephone? Now that I think about it, our kids would probably need this since the only place they can find a rotary phone is in a museum.

"Here are a few useful suggestions for the use of your dial telephone:

  1. Before calling any number, secure the number from your new directory.
  2. Then remove the receiver and listen for the dial tone. It sounds like this ... .
  3. Now dial the desired number. (a description of how to dial a number follows)
  4. And this is the ringing signal ... ..
  5. If the line is busy, you will hear this sound ... "

How Television Works - 1939

The part about television starts 1:20 minutes into the video. Can you imagine people today watching a video about how Facebook or YouTube works?

How to use the typewriter (1943)

This video describes how the correct use of the typewriter eliminates fatigue.

The Telephone and Telegraph (and the Fax)- 1946

Want a job in the telegraph industry? Then this is a "must-see" video. Some highlights from the clip:

• "Early equipment was crude" ... . (Oh yeah? Take a look at the 'modern' stuff in this video!)

• "In this operating room, hundreds of girls receive and transmit messages on batteries of teleprinters ... Those with ability and experience may be promoted ... .

• "Job opportunities for men exist in the maintenance of all transmission equipment ... "

• Want to get ahead in life? — The video suggests becoming a telegram messenger to establish business contacts with the people to whom you deliver telegrams! (Hey, what about LinkedIn?)

The fax machine is even described here (3:50)

The Kodak Instamatic Movie Camera (1967)

"The camera that is so easy to load and to use ... .that even a busy mother can do it ... There's no finer gift for any wife this Christmas ... and it costs less than $40."

The Internet in 1969

In this video, the wife shops online and watches the "kiddie-cam," the husband pays the bills, accesses bank accounts, and sends "email" using a stylus on a flat screen.

The Internet in 1993

This clip hypes the potential of the Internet, circa 1993:

"For $200 a year, 15 million people are 'sharing scientific data, arguing philosophy, and passing on cooking tips and gossip ... "What else can you do? You put out a general question ... and wait ... ."

Hmm ... almost a complete minute of possible Internet uses and nary a word of porn or gambling ...

Send me links to similar clips if you have any.