|An advert for the Bell Picturphone|
A commercial service started in June 1964 from calling booths in three cities: New York, Washington, D.C. and Chicago - but the service failed to excite. Customers needed to schedule their calls in advance and it was very expensive. A 3-minute video call from New York to Washington cost $16, about $120 in today's money. Despite slashing prices the following year the service failed to take off and the plug was pulled in 1968. So next time you skype appreciate how convenient and cheap video calling has become.