The World's Oldest Webcam Is Finally Being Shut Down After 25 Years

The world's oldest webcam is finally shutting down after a whopping quarter-century of service, marking the end of an era that began in the infancy of the modern internet we know today.

FogCam will be shut down at the end of the month after 25 years. The camera was set up in 1994 by Jeff Schwartz and Dan Wong while they were students at San Francisco State University as a way to show what life was like on the campus. The camera uploaded a grainy image of Holloway Avenue every 20 seconds to the FogCam website, though it moved through different locations on the campus throughout its lifespan to prevent being shut down by the university, who Schwartz said "tolerated" but didn't actually "endorse" the camera. Of course, nowadays, we have webcams capable of streaming 4K footage live (and the connections capable of handling that sort of bandwidth), but at least for me, there's a lot of nostalgia with devices like this. In 1994, I was just a kid beginning to discover the internet, and the novelty of devices like this that showed the potential of society being so connected is hard to overstate. FogCam's website will remain up after the camera itself is shut down. 

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7 Comments

Motti Bembaron's picture

I wouldn't be surprised if London has even older webcams.

Older cameras maybe. Webcams, I don't think so. Webcams were invented in november 1993. This one being in 1994, it,s safe to say it's one of the first ones.

Phill Holland's picture

This might require more pause for thought, you didn't really need an official webcam device, you just need a digital camera connected to a computer of some sort.

This also triggered thoughts about reading how early NASA probes processed photographs, they had onboard film development labs and scanners, I just wonder if those devices were connected to a network at some point for testing fun.

In november 1993, researchers rigged up the first live webcam to chek if there was coffee left in their break room without leaving their offices. that's the actual beginning of live feed over the internet. It's easily searchable online.

And it's not the same as analog broadcast equipement widely used well before the 90's.

Ralph Rackstraw's picture

So why don't they relocate it again?

Geoff Miller's picture

I assume that the author means "the oldest webcam still in operation." The "Coffee Cam" at the University of Cambridge, which debuted on the Internet in 1993 (after a period of internal availability), pre-dated the "FogCam".