Telephones & Telegrams

Wallis Mackay (1852-1907)

His horn book.... (1898)

"The marvellous development of Science in aiding the rapidity of Intercommunication is one of the wonders of the latter part of the XIXth Century," writes Mackay in the text facing this sketch, suggesting that only human nature holds our words back from arriving even before they are spoken or written. As examples of "human nature" he shows the infuriating delay at the telephone switchboard, and the dawdling of telegraph boys. In the latter case, perhaps Mackay was the first to introduce the idea of snail-mail! "Such influences prevent abnormal progress," he concludes.

Image download and text by Jacqueline Banerjee

[You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the person who scanned the image and (2) link your document to this URL or cite it in a print document.]