This Bell System ad is from the Good Housekeeping May 1983 edition that I found while cleaning in the Family Room. At first I snickered a bit at “The Tron House” in the ad; so so Eighties. But then I started reading through the copy; my snickering stopped as I read an accurate depiction of my own house in 2010. The ad predicts search engines, multi-player online gaming, spell checkers, e-commerce, and email a full ten years before any of them were evident to most people. The title of the copy itself was astoundingly spot-on:
“The way we see it, your home will never be the same again.”
Sure a couple things in the ad copy are a little off, but read it for yourself; it’s pretty amazing. It also discusses the pending Ma Bell Breakup that in 1984 regionalized phone service around the U.S.
The text from the advert is posted below. Borrow this story for your own storyline, if you want a time marker from the 1980s!
You see it every day. An ordinary home on an ordinary street.
But you should see what we see.
For more than 100 years, the Bell System has provided America with the world’s best telephone service. We’ve continued to turn today’s vision into tomorrow’s reality.
And now we’ve reached a day that’s perhaps the most exciting of all. Because the technology of telecommunications has now merged with the technology of computers. And this marriage has given birth to the Information Age.
The Information Age is coming to your home. And your home will never be the same again.
Picture yourself shopping at home. Touch a few buttons and everything you need to know about anything from a sweater to a refrigerator will appear on a screen. Touch a few more buttons to place the order. And a few more to tell your bank to pay the store.
Picture yourself working at home. Receive your mail electronically. Transmit a report to your office in a matter of seconds. Your computer will even correct any spelling mistakes all by itself.
Picture your home as the world’s largest library. And as your schoolroom.
Picture yourself using telephone lines to play bridge on a screen with other people across the country. A computer can match all the players by their level of skill.
These aren’t far-out dreams of some far-off tomorrow. The Bell System is already developing the technology that can make them happen.
An important part of that technology is lightwave fiber, already in use in some areas. Bell engineers are working on a lightwave system that can carry more than 100,000 telephone conversations simultaneously. All over fibers about on-tenth the thickness of a human hair.
And lightwave fiber, while providing even better transmission quality, is much less expensive than copper cable of comparable capacity.
Things like that are important to us in the Bell System. After all, changing for the future isn’t changing for the better if you’re not able to afford it.
In the months ahead, we’ll be giving you more details about the changes occurring at the Bell System. Next year, for example, your local Bell telephone company will be separated from AT&T. So the Bell System, as we know it today, will no longer exist.
We know you’ll have questions about these changes. And we want you to have answers. So call us. At 1 800 555-5000. That’s the number of the “Let’s Talk” program set up by the Bell System.
There’ll be somebody to talk to. To get you information. To tell you what the changes at the Bell System will mean to you.
We want you to feel at home with them.