This is what it was like to send an email in 1984


Want to send an email? All you have to do is pick up your smartphone and bang, it’s done and sent! All in a few minutes, tops.

But rewind 30 years, and sending electronic mail was uncharted territory… kind of what virtual reality is like for us today.

Back in the early 80s, sending emails was one of the most technologically advanced way of general communication, and nothing highlights that more than this clip from Database – a tech show from the 1980s.

As the segment shows, if you wanted to send an email back in 1984, you had to wait for the PC to request you to “phone computer” and then dial in using a rotary phone.

And after connecting through the Prestel network to a service called Micronet – a rudimentary version of the world wide web but with numbered webpages instead of urls – you had to look for a specific page for emails (in this case it’s 7776), to type in your message.

Email GIF – Find & Share on GIPHY

During the show, Pat Green – one of the computer experts taking the viewers through the process with a helpful demo – says while she finds the mailbox quite exciting, she also uses the PC for other things as well… like “keeping household records, such as what I have in the freezer, and people’s telephone numbers and addresses”.

One thing’s for sure – a lot has changed in the last three decades.

So next time you bang your head in frustration because it is taking longer than it should to stream HD videos, just think about Pat and her fellow computer nerd Julian.