Mailing Recorded Messages Was Once An Actual Alternative To Long Distance Calls

Mailing Recorded Messages Was Once An Actual Alternative To Long Distance Calls


Sherman, set the wayback machine to ridiculous because back in 1967, Smith-Corona — best known for its typewriters — actually sold a device called the Mail Call. What did it do? Let users record messages on small cartridges and mail them to anyone with a matching device.

In a way it was like the earliest form of voicemail, except that users would be stuck in a perpetual game of phone tag. And Smith-Corona promoted the system as being a more personal alternative to writing a letter, but without the poor sound quality of calling someone on the phone. It was also claimed to be cheaper than placing a long distance phone call, but with a two-unit starter kit costing $US70 back in 1967 — equivalent to around $US450 today — you’d have to get quite a bit of use out of it to break even.

[Mark’s Scrapbook of Oddities & Treasures via Neatorama]