Days of Future Past: World War I of 1914 and the Picturephone of 1964

Curated by CLAI

100 ANNIVERSARY OF WORLD WAR I: The war destroyed kings, kaisers, czars and sultans; it demolished empires; it introduced chemical weapons, tanks and airborne bombing; it brought millions of women into the work force, hastening their legal right to vote. It gave independence to nations like Ukraine, Poland and the Baltic countries and created new nations in the Middle East with often arbitrary borders; it brought about major cultural changes, including a new understanding of the psychology of war, of “shell shock” and post-traumatic stress.

Europe Before Word War I

Europe Before Word War I (NYTIMES)

1964 PICTUREPHONE: In 1964, from a booth set up in Grand Central Terminal, a person could talk to a friend in Chicago or Washington while also seeing them on a small video screen. The friend would also have to go to a special booth in those cities to take the call. The price for the novelty of a three-minute call was $16. That would be equivalent to $121 in today’s money.

Picturephone in 1965

In New York on Dec. 21, 1965, Keum Ja Kim, 15, a soloist with the World Vision Orphan Choir, used the Picturephone to audition for Robert Merrill, a star with the Metropolitan Opera, who was in Washington to sing at the White House. (Bettmann/Corbis)

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