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Did you know that Germany had video telephone service... in 1936?

Posted: , by Nick T.

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Did you know that Germany had video telephone service... in 1936?
Video calls – a service that we take for granted today – have been imagined ever since the telephone took off. Visionaries from the late 1800s were confident that in the future, people would be able to both hear and see the person on the other side of the line. Technology, however, still had quite some advancing to do before video telephony could become something more than just a concept. Many years of research were needed until eventually, science fiction became science fact.

The first 2-way videophone service was launched on March 1, 1936 – 78 years ago. It was provided in Germany by the national post office and connected Berlin with Leipzig. Some 100 miles (160 kilometers) of broadband coaxial cable were used to deliver video calls between the two cities. Later on, the service was opened to the public, and additional lines connecting other major cities were added. 

Technically, Germany's videophone system was quite impressive of an invention for its time. Video was delivered at 25 frames per second on a cathode ray tube display. Its resolution of 172 rows, which made for a pixel count of about 40,000, is said to have been enough for one to discern the hands on a wristwatch. 

The service wasn't cheap, however. A three-minute call was priced at approximately one-fifteenth of the average weekly wage. It wasn't very convenient either. There were a couple of booths installed in each city. To use the videophone service, one had to make an appointment with the post office first. Also, the person they wanted to speak with had to be notified in advance. 

Unfortunately, Germany's videophone service didn't last long. Plans for extending the network were abandoned with the start of the Second World War. By 1940, the system was shut down. 


references: VSeeVideophone (Wikipedia)

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posted on 04 Aug 2014, 05:44 11

1. tango_charlie (Posts: 84; Member since: 16 Nov 2011)


Germans were and still are one of the best engineers in the world. They even build a stealth bomber during the 1940s, Horton Ho 29 Stealth Bomber. Kudos to those brainiacs.

posted on 04 Aug 2014, 06:02 10

4. alterecho (Posts: 1085; Member since: 23 Feb 2012)


Yup. What many also don't (including me, until recently), is that the Americans achieved sooo much in their space program, through NASA, only because of the German scientists they forced to work for them, after their victory in World War II.

They used the german V2 rocket design for their space program, as well as their ICBMS (nuke rockets). That and many others.

posted on 04 Aug 2014, 06:31

8. XperiaFanZone (Posts: 1390; Member since: 21 Sep 2012)


That's interesting.

posted on 04 Aug 2014, 15:13 1

24. JGuinan007 (Posts: 634; Member since: 19 May 2011)


DId you also know a lot of these German Scientists were Nazi war criminals that never stood trial for their crimes in exchange for their work on US gov projects

posted on 04 Aug 2014, 06:24 2

5. TheMan (Posts: 407; Member since: 21 Sep 2012)


I'm surprised and impressed. 1936 was a big year for Germany (and Jesse Owens). The Berlin Olympics were televised -- a first -- via closed circuit.

The use of German scientists by Russian and American governments beginning before WW II ended is well reported. NASA (and atomic testing) doesn't get as much attention as decades ago.

posted on 04 Aug 2014, 07:23 2

9. RaKithAPeiRiZ (Posts: 1352; Member since: 29 Dec 2011)


i did nazi this technology until now

posted on 04 Aug 2014, 07:32

11. RuiBacelar (Posts: 138; Member since: 25 Feb 2014)


They created the first Jetfighter planes and Night-vision for soldiers with assault rifles. And really, the list goes on and on.

Google Wunderwaffe and be amazed!

posted on 04 Aug 2014, 07:42

14. RaKithAPeiRiZ (Posts: 1352; Member since: 29 Dec 2011)


first ballistic missile ,cruise missiles , first guided missile , remote controlled drones , flying wing bombers ,first jet powered bomber and of course the predecessor to the RPG and AK-47

posted on 04 Aug 2014, 11:44 1

22. Settings (Posts: 458; Member since: 02 Jul 2014)


The Germans invented the BEER! Or somewhat popularized it!
Thats how important Germany is to me.

posted on 05 Aug 2014, 22:23

26. jos_031 (Posts: 33; Member since: 12 Jun 2012)


Oldest record was obtained from Mesopotamian civilization, But alcohol is injurious to health.

posted on 05 Aug 2014, 08:00

25. tuminatr (Posts: 682; Member since: 23 Feb 2009)


Dont forget the use of nitrous oxide and methonol injection was used to speed up Luftwaffe. War is the mother of invention because its innovate or die literally. thehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GM-1

posted on 04 Aug 2014, 05:46 5

2. DEATHSTROKE9 (Posts: 399; Member since: 09 Nov 2013)


Germans.....

posted on 04 Aug 2014, 05:54 11

3. jaytai0106 (Posts: 1298; Member since: 30 Mar 2011)


Damn you German! You are technological advance, good at soccer, and have really good beers.... Damn you...

posted on 04 Aug 2014, 09:50 1

20. Augustine (Posts: 732; Member since: 28 Sep 2013)


Ah, then there are German women...

posted on 04 Aug 2014, 06:25 2

6. itsdeepak4u2000 (Posts: 2689; Member since: 03 Nov 2012)


German technology is great.

posted on 04 Aug 2014, 06:31 3

7. ArtSim98 (Posts: 2911; Member since: 21 Dec 2012)


Germany and Japan FTW best countrues in the world with the smartest people!

posted on 04 Aug 2014, 07:26 2

10. RaKithAPeiRiZ (Posts: 1352; Member since: 29 Dec 2011)


heil to that

posted on 04 Aug 2014, 07:33 1

12. RuiBacelar (Posts: 138; Member since: 25 Feb 2014)


Anne Frankly, stop with the German Puns.

posted on 04 Aug 2014, 07:43 2

15. RaKithAPeiRiZ (Posts: 1352; Member since: 29 Dec 2011)


jew are right , i gas i better stop it

posted on 04 Aug 2014, 11:45

23. Settings (Posts: 458; Member since: 02 Jul 2014)


Ich better to stop guys

posted on 04 Aug 2014, 07:33 1

13. diehardnokian (Posts: 54; Member since: 27 Apr 2014)


i have always admired germans for the quality of cars they engineer. tough and solid!

posted on 04 Aug 2014, 07:54 1

16. dratomic (Posts: 463; Member since: 09 Oct 2013)


germans are best at what they do. thats why they cant have an independent army.

posted on 04 Aug 2014, 07:54

17. dratomic (Posts: 463; Member since: 09 Oct 2013)


germans are best at what they do. thats why they cant have an independent army.

posted on 04 Aug 2014, 07:58 2

18. PAPINYC (Posts: 2304; Member since: 30 Jul 2011)


As much as I would like to say something pro-German, if iDo, some pathetically bloated water-retaining bus driver with an inferiority complex will cry racism! Therefore, I must defer to the almighty Wotan and say long live 'za Fatherland! Hail!!

posted on 04 Aug 2014, 09:49 1

19. Augustine (Posts: 732; Member since: 28 Sep 2013)


"ans for extending the network were abandoned with the start of the Second World War." Yes some bloodthirsty people defend wars as advancing technology. As if creating things to destroy and kill were advances in the right direction.

posted on 04 Aug 2014, 10:21

21. linaresx (Posts: 85; Member since: 13 Jun 2013)


That’s that German efficiency, always coming up with a solution for everything.

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