Thursday, March 8, 2012

Information Superhighway Circa 1950

"June 6, 1950. Pembroke, Ontario. "Vis-O-Matic department store." A variation on mail-order shopping, the Vis-O-Matic system used color slides to display merchandise to potential customers, with orders placed by Teletype and delivered to your door.

Two of at least 200 photographs taken by Bernard Hoffman at retail magnate Laurence Freiman's newfangled catalog store in Pembroke, Ontario. The cards were an index of merchandise on color slides viewed by customers on rear-projection screens.

"Vis-O-Matic department store." A Vis-O-Matic spokesmodel, or perhaps even the queen of Vis-O-Matic, the Canadian catalog store whose slide-projection system of displaying merchandise was like a Buck Rogers premonition of online shopping. The Vis-O-Matic phenomenon seems to have been short-lived, with hardly any documentation online aside from these photos in the Life archive, and no word of its fate. Photo by Bernard Hoffman Life Magazine Image Library"

Text adapted from

1 comment:

RPM said...

There's a burger joint in Houston's Bush Airport that runs that 50's-60's joint theme. Can't remember the name but it's part of the Pappas empire (Pappasito's, Pappas Bros. BBQ, Pappadeauxs, ect).

Damn good cheeseburger, shake and onion rings served in an "old time" manner! Just what I wanted returning from an international flight.

It often amazes me how Americans have changed their values and expectations in just a few years. The days of grocery boys carting your packages to the car or grease monkeys checking your oil, water, ect while they fill your car with gas are long gone.

Now people treat these services as a privacy invasion.