Before telephones there was the facsimile, more commonly known as FAX.
Later, the wireless picture (sometimes referred to as radio FAX), didn't come into play until the late 1920s. However, not until the mid-70s, through a series of improvements, was the telephone finally used to transmit images.
It was the Japanese who made usage of FAX as a popular medium. The Japanese language uses thousands of characters. To use the adage of "a picture is worth a thousand words" simplifies the reason the device quickly came into general use in the Orient.
The advent of Email, computerized files and the usage of PDF has supplanted the requirement for facsimile transmision. It now can all be done from your personal computer (PC) without having to get out of your chair.