When Old Technologies Were New: Thinking About Electric Communication in the Late Nineteenth Century
In the history of electronic communication, the last quarter of the nineteenth century holds a special place, for it was during this period that the telephone, phonograph, electric light, wireless, and cinema were all invented. In When old Technologies Were New, Carolyn Marvin explores how two of these new inventions--the telephone and the electric light--were publicly envisioned at the end of the nineteenth century, as seen in specialized engineering journals and popular media. Marvin pays particular attention to the telephone, describing how it disrupted established social relations, unsettling customary ways of dividing the private person and family from the more public setting of the community. On the lighter side, she describes how people spoke louder when calling long distance, and how they worried about catching contagious diseases over the phone. A particularly powerful chapter deals with telephonic precursors of radio broadcasting--the "Telephone Herald" in New York and the "Telefon Hirmondo" of Hungary--and the conflict between the technological development of broadcasting and the attempt to impose a homogenous, ethnocentric variant of Anglo-Saxon culture on the public. While focusing on the way professionals in the electronics field tried to control the new media, Marvin also illuminates the broader social impact, presenting a wide-ranging, informative, and entertaining account of the early years of electronic media.
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When old technologies were new: thinking about electric communication in the late nineteenth centuryUser Review - Not Available - Book Verdict
Late last century a series of electrical innovations drastically altered the social order and economies of industrial nations. This book uses two innovations, the telephone and the electric light, to ... Read full review
1 Inventing the Expert Technological Literacy as Social Currency
2 Community and Class Order Progress Close to Home
3 Locating the Body in Electrical Space and Time Competing Authorities
4 Dazzling the Multitude Original Media Spectacles
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advertising Amos Dolbear Answers London audience body British connected culture decorated devices Edison effect elec electric light electric media electrical communication Electrical Engineer electrical experts electrical journals Electrical Review Electrical World Electrician London elite entertainment exchange Exhibition familiar fantasies flashed future groups human hundred Ibid illuminated incandescent lamps invention June late nineteenth century less Lightning London literacy machine magic man’s Marconi messages nature night Nikola Tesla occasion one’s Paris phonograph Popular Science professional Quoted reported Science Siftings London Scientific American searchlight Sept social society spectacles station story subscribers technical technological literacy tele telectroscope Telefon Hirmondó telegraph operator Telegraphic Journal Telegraphic Journal London Telephone Company telephone girl Telephone Newspaper Telephony Chicago Tesla textual Theatre Thomas Edison trical trician tricity voice Western Electrician Chicago wire wireless women York
Page 3 - in a historical sense, the computer is no more than an instantaneous telegraph with a prodigious memory, and all the communications inventions in between have simply been elaborations on the telegraph's original work."0 I hope to have shown that this early acoustical instrument has a more complicated place than that.
Page 8 - Marvin reminds us in her historical study of electric communication in the late nineteenth century, technologies "are not fixed natural objects; they have no natural edges. They are constructed complexes of habits, beliefs, and procedures embedded in elaborate cultural codes of communication
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