Word is trickling out of Bell Labs that Alexander Graham Bell is developing a device that will supplant the telegraph.
While the technology behind the Telephone is new, the design is reassuringly old-fashioned, reminiscent of a phrenologist’s horn or ear-candle in form. We found the experience far more comfortable than the one we had with the Telegraph, though fatigue from magnetic waves is inevitable in the use of each. This is a minor complaint, however, as we could scarcely imagine using such a device for more than a few minutes a day.
Update: Meanwhile, back in the real world, F. Marion Crawford had this to say back in 1896:
The old fashioned novel is really dead, and nothing can revive it nor make anybody care for it again. What is to follow it?…A clever German who is here suggested to me last night that the literature of the future might turn out to be the daily exchange of ideas of men of genius — over the everlasting telephone of course — published every morning for the whole world….
The everlasting telephone!
Ha! Maureen Dowd interviews Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone.
ME: The telephone seems like letter-writing without the paper and pen. Is there any message that can’t wait for a passenger pigeon?
BELL: Possibly the message I’d like to deliver to you right now.
ME: Why did you think the answer to telegrams was a noisy new telegram?
BELL: We have designed the receiver so you can leave it off the hook.
See also The Victorian Internet. (thx, @evamaria_m)
Did Alexander Graham Bell drink Elisha Gray’s telephone-flavored milkshake?
On May 22, 1886, The Washington Post published a shocking front-page scoop: Zenas F. Wilber, a former Washington patent examiner, swore in an affidavit that he’d been bribed by an attorney for Alexander Graham Bell to award Bell the patent for the telephone over a rival inventor, Elisha Gray, who’d filed a patent document on the same day as Bell in 1876.
Even though Bell has been legally vindicated on this issue, Seth Shulman’s new book, The Telephone Gambit, suggests that he did in fact steal a key idea from Elisha Gray. (via house next door)