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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

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A Victorian Internet?

Mercurians need no reminder that the Internet is not the medium of the first communications technology revolution. Indeed, some will claim that the development and implementation of the electric telegraph had the greatest impact of all the communications revolutions. Some will not. There was printing, after all. But, be that as it may, readers may be interested in looking at The Victorian Internet: The Remarkable Story of the Telegraph and the Nineteenth Century’s On-Line Pioneers by Tom Standage (1998), available in both paperback and hardcover.

Standage explores the business, political, and social impacts of the telegraph. Fortunately, he does not neglect the Chappe optical/mechanical telegraph, built first in 1791, and the basis for the semaphore systems. Antenna articles have explored the significance of this and other optical systems for long-distance communication, as well as the electric telegraph, one of our favorite topics of study. But don’t forget printing when you are thinking of communications revolutions!.