10 Vintage Versions of Modern Technology

Sometime people comes up with ideas and inventions that are just way ahead of their time. Like these familiar but curious designs from the past that were actually early prototypes of today’s most advanced technology.

Often these pioneering designs, ideas and inventions that were just way ahead of their time, were put back in the shelves for decades, until new innovators and technology could re-discover and finally make them a reality…


1. Before GPS, behold, the 1920s RouteFinder

In 1920, the Plus Fours Routefinder was introduced to the world. This manual “navigator” resembled a wristwatch and consisted of paper maps and two wooden handles that has to be scrolled manually. A variety of scrolls could be fitted in the watch depending on the trip the driver is taking.

Ten years later in 1930, the world’s first automobile navigator, the Tom Tom or Sat Nav called the Iter Avto, made its debut. The map passes the screen in a rhythm that depends on the speed of the car. The screen manually scrolls the paper maps that are attached to a cable similar to that of a modern mechanical speedometer. If the driver made a turn, he would have to change the map and find it on his current location.



2. FaceTime and Skype before the Invention of the Mobile Phone

Here’s a 1956 magazine clipping talking about the future of phones. The article is about a voice recognition as well as a touchtone, colour videophone that you can watch TV on.

And here’s some early versions of Skype…

In 1964, Bell Labs developed the Picturephone… Yes, selfie!



The first public videophone service was first operated by the German Reichspost in 1936. It closed in 1940 because of WWII.


A 1930s illustration of a “proto-eyephone-o-matic”! Need a Skype call to China? This is the technology for you.

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