Monday, February 11, 2013

That's One Expensive Phone!

This Western Electric Bell Systems 1965 Picture Phone with Display sold on Ebay for a whopping $21,433.67!  

Here is information on the unit taken directly from the listing:  

This item was the prize possession from the Estate of former Bell system retiree given to his loving family who wishes this to go to a good home and serious collector who respects and understands the History behind this amazing find.

This is your moment to own a piece of telephone history and will be the PIÈCE DE RÉSISTANCE of your collection. You are bidding on a 1965 Mod 1 Picturephone complete with all three components: The Display Unit, The Desk set and The Power Control Unit. Included in the sale is hundreds of pages of documentation which include every thing you need to know about your 1965 Picturephone. 

This Picturephone system unit was fabricated during an "experimental stage" and it was promoted as the telephone of the future, but high cost, inconvenience and a lack of compatible devices turned it into the phone of dreams instead, so very few were made for public use. They did however set up Picturephone booths in a few large cities with Chicago being one of them. It is my belief, but not documented that this is one of the few that were installed in the Prudential Building downtown Chicago.






See the sold listing here.

And some other picture phones....






7 comments:

Dana@Mid2Mod said...

I remember that the picture phones were dangled like a carrot for decades when I was growing up but never quite materialized except for prototypes and demonstration models. I'm betting there's a happy seller and a happy buyer right now!

Rhan Vintage said...

Such a cool idea but ahead of it's time....like many things from the awesome mid century!

David said...

HA! remember the Carol Burnett show. The skit with Tim Conway as the boss and Carol as his secretary Mrs. Wiggins talking on the office intercom. OMG google it you'll laugh your arse off, it was the first thing I thought when I saw your pic.

A Modern Line said...

This would be crazy fun to own, well except the price tag. Still fun to see. Thanks for the post...

David said...

SKYPE or Facetime, this may have been the inspiration

Rebecca Gonzalez said...

It took forty years for skype and facetime to come into maturity. They were really ahead of their time!

Call Handling Specialist said...

Say that again? A whooping twenty-one thousand plus dollars? Wow! That is indeed an expensive telephone. Thank you for providing a unique topic on your write-up.

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