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Vol. 12, No. 1
November 1999

Mercurial Matters

Old and New Media

News of Members

Editorial: Seduced by a "First"

2000 in Munich

Nina Wormbs wins Robinson Prize

Information Networks and Urban Spaces

Book Review:
Science in Public

Lemelson Center Fellows Program

News of the Field:
Printing History on the Web

Audio History Library

Westinghouse Films from 1904

What can "Old Technologies" Teach us about Digital Culture?

Recent and Upcoming Conferences

Journal of Radio Studies

New Edition of Bibliography


Telephone Collectors International

SHOT Session Query: Mechanical to Electrical

A Victorian Internet?

Contact Us

Mercurians Back Button

Old and New Media

The Mercurians’ website, <> has been a busy place. Launched on June 5, 1999, it had received 1590 hits as of November 15. Many of those visitors have asked questions about such a wide range of matters relating to the histories of communication technologies that it almost staggers the imagination. Through our contact link, <>, collectors of antiquated devices have asked for pricing guidelines—we have offered no help there. A couple of business consultants wondered if we possessed any secrets for exploiting communication technologies for fun and profit. And one person was curious about long distance telephone rates from the 1950s. Most of our questions come from students. When the questioners appear to attend schools with adequate resources, we usually refer them to their libraries, with a few hints on looking up items . When, however, we receive questions from students or others with less promising resources at hand, we have tried to answer their questions. We hope that we can call on various Mercurians as the needs arise for assistance.

Requests for book advice have been among the most frequent questions we have received. That people are coming to this website hoping to find sources for research reinforces the merits of Pam Stephan’s suggestion that we list useful publications, both Mercurians’ and others. In addition to designing it and maintaining the site, Pam Stephan has volunteered to build a bibliography, providing that members send titles. This is a chance to promote both your own publications and those that you value as resources. Contact Pam at <>.

We would like to build, as per your suggestions, a museum directory with a useful set of annotated links, as well as links to other web sites pertinent to the history of communication technologies.. Send URLs, preferably, but not necessarily annotated.

In addition to museums and on-line exhibitions, are there other links that might prove useful? On-line libraries, archives, associations, etc.? Can you suggest links with other like-minded sites? Contact Pam Laird or Andrew Butrica with any suggestions for additions or directions that might help to make this web site a useful tool. (Contact information here) As a work in progress, this site can only be as good as the information you contribute to it. You can also find back issues of Antenna here, as well as announcements about the group’s activities, especially the annual meetings. As agreed earlier, we will not be posting the e-mail directory for the sake of avoiding unwanted communications and solicitations.