'Black Friday' Online Shopping - In 1899!

Philco-Ford Corporation had a pretty good idea of our modern, socially-distanced, Internet-enabled online shopping experience - in 1967.

On the other hand, there were other forms of shopping imagined even longer ago. For example, in 1941, Robert Heinlein imagined a bespoke clothing shopping experience:

He sat himself down in a sales cubicle and dialed the code number for kilts. He let the pictures of cloth designs flicker past his eyes while he let the persuasive voice of the catalog drone on until a pattern showed up which was distinctly unmilitary and not blue, whereupon he arrested the display and punched the combination for his size.

The plain blue uniform kilt he stuffed in the refuse hopper of the sales cubicle and left, nattily and somewhat flamboyantly attired.


(Astounding, Methuselah's Children)


(Read more about (instant customized clothing)

Even further back, science fiction legend HG Wells described a little hand-held "fashion plate" no bigger than an iPhone in 1899:

He opened the roller with a quick movement, and a confusion of brilliant fabrics poured out over his knees. "You lived, Sire, in a period essentially cylindrical -- the Victorian. With a tendency to the hemisphere in hats. Circular curves always. Now --" He flicked out a little appliance the size and appearance of a keyless watch, whirled the knob, and behold -- a little figure in white appeared kinetoscope fashion on the dial, walking and turning. The tailor caught up a pattern of bluish white satin. "That is my conception of your immediate treatment," he said...

"What is that?" asked the man from the nineteenth century.

"In your days they showed you a fashion-plate," said the tailor," but this is our modern development. See here." The little figure repeated its evolutions, but in a different costume.

"Or this," and with a click another small figure in a more voluminous type of robe marched on to the dial. The tailor was very quick in his movements, and glanced twice towards the lift as he did these things.
(Read more about (kinetiscope appliance)

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