Electrophone: the Victorian-era gadget that was a precursor to live-streaming

As the battle against COVID-19 continues to rage, the plight of Britain’s theatres, which have suffered catastrophic financial strain thanks to lockdown, continues to rumble through the arts world.

One source of hope has been live-streaming shows – and a number of theatre companies, including National Theatre Live had had some success with this format. And, interestingly, the idea of streaming live theatre into people’s homes goes back to the Victorian era.

From 1893 to 1925 the London Electrophone Company streamed the sound of live theatre into the home using a telephone device known as an Electrophone.


Streaming is old and new, read more.