Wirephoto tech: Transmitting 1930s news pics with impressive speed and skill

February 14, 2024
1 min read


  • News organizations in the 1930s used Wirephoto technology to quickly transmit photographs to newspapers
  • Wirephoto technology allowed images to be sent remotely over phone lines

Charlie Dean Archives has shared a dramatization depicting how news photographs were transmitted to newspapers in the 1930s using the newly available Wirephoto technology. This technology revolutionized the way news organizations transmitted images, as it only required a phone line to send photographs remotely.

Wirephoto technology was considered the latest miracle in news gathering, allowing wired photos to travel across continents with the speed of light, almost as fast as the telephone story. This advancement in technology opened a new era in newspaper history, providing a faster and more efficient way to share visual news content.

The video shared by Charlie Dean Archives highlights the process of sending news photographs using Wirephoto technology. It shows how photographs were scanned and transformed into a series of electrical signals through the use of a phototelegraph transmitter. These signals were then transmitted over phone lines to a phototelegraph receiver at the newspaper’s office, where they were decoded back into an image.

This technology eliminated the need for physical transportation of photographs, which was time-consuming and often prone to damage or loss. Now, news organizations could receive images quickly and efficiently through the Wirephoto system.

Wirephoto technology played a significant role in shaping the way news organizations operated in the 1930s. It allowed newspapers to provide visual content to their readers in a more timely manner, enhancing the overall news experience. The speed and efficiency of Wirephoto transmissions contributed to the growth and development of the journalism industry.

Overall, the availability of Wirephoto technology in the 1930s revolutionized the transmission of news photographs. It provided news organizations with a faster and more efficient method of sharing visual content, greatly impacting the way news was reported and consumed.

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