How to Send an Email (in 1984)

In 1984, not many people owned a personal computer. But the tech-savvy people who did—and also had a modem—were treated to the speed and convenience of “electronic message writing down the phone line.” British network Thames Television released a clip from its mid-1980s computer show Database, which featured very early tech adopters sending email through big, clunky computers.

In the video, Pat and Julian Green log on to Prestel MicroComputing’s online server, called “Micronet,” using a modem and a rotary telephone. Once connected, the couple can read daily news, download special programming software, and send and receive electronic messages through Prestel’s magazine-style home page.

In order to demonstrate how to send an email from one computer to another, Mrs. Green has to search for Database’s mailbox on Micronet, where she’s able to type the production team a kind message of gratitude:

“Dear Database, Best Wishes to All the Database Team.

Electronically Yours, The Green Family.”

Efficient and polite!

Images courtesy Thames TV/YouTube.

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