How to Transmit News Photos by Wire—in 1937

A newspaper reveals how images were scanned and sent electronically via telephone lines in the 1930s. 

Telephotography was a thrilling new technology in the 1930s, allowing newspapers to send images across the country at lightning speed. Photographs were scanned from a rotating cylinder and transmitted electronically via telephone lines. Courtesy of the Prelinger Archive, this informative film was produced by Chevrolet, and shamelessly includes a highly entertaining stunt in which a small airplane takes off from the roof of a car. The event, of course, is the subject of the news photograph that must be rushed to the paper via wire.

For more films from the Prelinger Archive, visit