10:15-11:00 ET • June 30, 2020

Recreation call

On the day of the 50th anniversary, current Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto and Alcoa Chairman Michael G. Morris conversed via video, as their predecessors did a half century ago. The event featured opening remarks from Carnegie Mellon University Provost and Chief Academic Officer James H. Garrett, Jr. Below you will find a recording of the livestream celebrating this seminal event, which heralded a future of video conferencing and telecommuting that is mainstream today.

Picturephone service launch in 1970. Pittsburgh Mayor Peter Flaherty, Lawrence Barnhorst VP and General Manager of Bell of Pennsylvania, and George Bloom chairman of Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.

Picturephone 50th Anniversary in 2020. Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto talks on a AT&T Mod II PIcturephone refurbished at Carnegie Mellon University.

Panel Discussion

Following the recreation call, a panel of scholars from Carnegie Mellon University hosted a Q&A livestream discussing the history and legacy of the Picturephone's launch. From humble experiments at Bell Labs in the 1920s to the ubiquity of video conferencing platforms used by millions today, there was much to discuss on the history, technology and societal impact of video calling.

Patience Whitworth


Assistant Vice Provost for Operations and Strategic Initiatives, CMU

Meade McGee

CMU Libraries CLIR Postdoctoral Fellow in the History of Science and Computing


Senior Associate Dean for Research, College of Fine Arts, CMU


A. Nico Habermann Chair & Assistant Professor, School of Computer Science, CMU

50th Anniversary Organizers

Chris Harrison - Associate Professor, Human-Computer Interaction Institute, Carnegie Mellon University

Andrew Meade McGee - CLIR Postdoctoral Fellow in the History of Science and Computing, , Carnegie Mellon University Libraries

Shannon Riffe - Director of Marketing, Communications & External Relations, Carnegie Mellon University Libraries

Sven Mayer - Post Doctoral Fellow, Human-Computer Interaction Institute, Carnegie Mellon University