Jan. 2, 2012
by Mark Ollig
How does a French factory operating in 1912, improve sales of their chocolate products?
By creating imaginative promotional advertisement cards showing how technology would look 100 years into the future.
The folks from the Lombart chocolate company came up with the idea to use the “technology in the year 2012” theme, to increase sales of their various chocolates.
These 1912 advertisement cards (about the size of a postcard) were quality-made, fully illustrated, and in color.
The cards were produced and printed by the highly regarded French Norgeu family.
These future-themed cards were titled “En I’an 2012” meaning “In the year 2012.”
Six cards were made for En I’an 2012.
Each skillfully hand-drawn card, depicts how a specific future technology from the year 2012, would assist in the delivery of yummy-tasting Lombart chocolate.
Included with the chocolates Lombart sold to customers in 1912, was one of the 2012 cards.
The good folks at Lombart, no doubt, hoped these thought-provoking, futuristic 2012 cards would entice customers to want more cards, which would mean purchasing more of their chocolate.
One of the six 1912 cards which immediately caught this telecommunication veteran’s attention, was titled “Picturephone of the year 2012.”
The card shows a father standing next to the mother, who is sitting down at a table and speaking into the transmitter of a circa 1912 telephone handset.
Both are also looking straight ahead at the living room wall.
The parents are watching and participating in a real-time video phone call with their son, who they can see is talking to them from his telephone in a distant location.
This real-time, video phone call is being displayed, or projected onto the parent’s living room wall, roughly 5 feet in front of them.
The live broadcast transmission of their son seen on the wall is coming from a movie projector-like device sitting on the table, which is wired into a small, enclosed electrical device, along with the telephone handset the mother is using.
Since this card was intended to help sell more Lombart chocolate, the mother is reportedly saying “Hello, my child. We sent your chocolate Lombart by the aircraft.”
The Picturephone of the year 2012 as hand-drawn in 1912 can be seen at http://tinyurl.com/77qdqz7.
The oldest picture I found showing a phone call where both parties could see and talk with each other in real-time, was hand-drawn in 1879 by George Du Maurier.
In this picture, Du Maurier shows parents conversing live with their daughter over a large screen on a wall in their home using the Edison Telephonoscope.
Thomas Edison had envisioned a communication device that would “transmit light as well as sound” and be capable of showing real-time events, such as allowing two groups of people, who were separated by a great distance, to see and talk with each other in real-time.
George Du Maurier’s futuristic picture from 1879 can be seen at http://tinyurl.com/7mlpemp.
Little did they realize in 1879 (or 1912) that in 2012, we would be using software applications such as Skype, and Apple’s iChat and FaceTime. We also have Facebook and Google’s voice and video chat, (and others) to use for video conferencing.
The 1912 depiction of the 2012 Picturephone projection apparatus is not so far-fetched.
Today’s portable, integrated pico-projector devices use a wall for beaming images and video onto – so, why not our video phone calls?
Logic Wireless Technologies has a built-in video projector on some of their cellphones; one is the Logic Axis Projector Phone. However, I do not believe it can project real-time video of a live phone conversation.
Aircraft from 2012 is shown in another colorfully hand-drawn Lombart card.
This card shows futuristic dirigibles or “lighter-than-air” aircraft, commonly known as blimps, floating in the night sky over London.
One dirigible is seen sitting atop a building delivering Lombart chocolates.
Moored balloons with attached, brightly shining globes about 2,000 feet over London, are spaced roughly 100 yards apart from each other.
The globes light up the night sky.
Bathed with light, the dirigibles appear to be in an airport-like holding pattern, waiting to deliver Lombart chocolate onto rooftop landing pads below them.
All the dirigibles have “Chocolat Lombart” written in bold, red lettering across their large, skeletal-framed, gas-filled balloon envelopes.
The interior-lit gondola crew cabin, suspended under each dirigible, looks like the caboose from a train, and has two propellers attached on the front.
The automobiles of 2012 fly. They are shown with side-wings and a propeller fastened to the engine.
One flying car is seen landing to pick up some Lombart chocolate.
Hey, it’s 2012 . . . I am still waiting for my Jetsons flying car.
Another 1912 card shows a trip to the moon from Paris via a futuristic looking 2012 “spaceplane.”
This spaceplane has an attached passenger cabin and a roof spotlight with its light beam focused directly at a large, full moon.
A card of a 2012 underwater submarine shows people peering out a large cabin window, while fish slowly swim by.
A male passenger talks on the intercom. He is probably asking the submarine driver to stop at the nearest underwater Lombart chocolate store.
These futuristic images created in 1912, are from the book “History of the Future: Images of the 21st Century” by Christiphe Canto and Odile Faliu.
Telecommunications and all things tech has been a well-traveled road for me. I enjoy learning what is new in technology and sharing it with others who enjoy reading my particular slant on it via this blog. I am also a freelance columnist for my hometown's print and digital newspaper.- Mark Ollig