The History of the Telephone

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A. C. McClurg & Company, 1910 - Telephone - 315 pages
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This book was an excellent read. Working at a telephone company in the year 2009 and 2010 has peaked my interest in the origins of the industry. Mr Casson's excitement, enthusiasm ... more , and literary tact takes me back to 1910 and the thoughts of how revolutionary the telephone really was at the time. This book tells of the struggles of Thomas Edison, how he was mentored and encouraged in his work, and how he stumbled upon perhaps one of the greatest inventions in human history.
As I was reading "The History of The Telephone", I couldn't help but thinking about the parallels between modern day communication and how it compares to the technology at the time that the book was written. In 1910, the phone was still in it's infancy much as the internet and computers are in their infancy today. It tickled me that the author was as enthusiastic and excited about the telephone as I am about the internet, world wide web, and today's communication technologies. It's amazing how much the landscape of today's communications has changed since the author wrote about the history or the telephone in 1910 and if he were alive today I am sure he would feel compelled to be as excited about new technologies as he was about the new technology of the telephone in his day.
Read this book if you are interested in a first-hand description of the state of the telephone industry and the challenges in establishing a new technology that has had a profound effect on the world. Mr Casson weaves his love of poetry and carves his words into a great history of the telephone that leaves me longing for more.
 

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Interesting section concerning a refused offer to sell the Bell patents to Western Union in 1876.

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Page 105 - The method of, and apparatus for, transmitting vocal or other sounds telegraphically, as herein described, by causing electrical undulations, similar in form to the vibrations of the air accompanying the said vocal or other sounds, substantially as set forth.
Page 174 - Company formed in 1885 which certified that "the general route of lines of this association . . . will connect one or more points in each and every city, town or place in the State of New York with one or more points in each and every other city, town or place in said state, and in each and every other of the United States, and in Canada and Mexico; and each and every other of...
Page 94 - All recognized the fact that the " minor differences in the original vibrations" had not been satisfactorily reproduced ; but they attributed it to the imperfect mechanism of the apparatus used, rather than to any fault in the principle on which the operation was made to depend. It was left for Bell to discover that the failure was due not to workmanship, but to the principle which was adopted as the basis of what had to be done. He found that what he called the " intermittent" current — one caused...
Page 150 - In a similar manner, it is conceivable that cables of telephone wires could be laid underground, or suspended overhead, communicating by branch wires with private dwellings, country houses, shops, manufactories, etc., etc., uniting them through the main cable with a central office where the wire could be connected as desired, establishing direct communication between any two places in the city.
Page 170 - Tell our agents that we have a proposition on foot to connect the different cities for the purpose of personal communication, and in other ways to organize a grand telephonic system.
Page 33 - Mr. Watson, come here; I want you." Watson, who was at the lower end of the wire, in the basement, dropped the receiver and rushed with wild joy up three flights of stairs to tell the glad tidings to Bell. "I can hear you!
Page 75 - Thousands of telephones are now in operation in all parts of the country," he said, "yet I have not yet received one cent from my invention. On the contrary, I am largely out of pocket by my researches, as the mere value of the profession that I have sacrificed during my three years' work, amounts to twelve thousand dollars.
Page 39 - CHICAGO room to the other, and while Bell went to the transmitter, Dom Pedro took up the receiver and placed it to his ear. It was a moment of tense expectancy. No one knew clearly what was about to happen, when the Emperor, with a dramatic gesture, raised his head from the receiver and exclaimed with a look of utter amazement: "My God — it talks!
Page 23 - Bell would often awaken me in the middle of the night, his black eyes blazing with excitement. Leaving me to go down to the cellar, he would rush wildly to the barn and begin to send me signals along his experimental wires. If I noticed any improvement in his apparatus he would be delighted. He would leap and whirl around in one of his 'war dances,' and then go contentedly to bed. But if .the experiment was a failure he would go back to his work-bench to try some different plan.
Page 67 - If it was all massed in your one city you might well fear it; but it is represented there by one man only, and he has probably as much as he can attend to outside of the telephone. For you to acknowledge that you cannot compete with his influence when you make it your special business, is hardly the thing. There may be a dozen concerns that will all go to the Western Union, but they will not take with them all their friends. I would advise that you go ahead and keep your present advantage. We must...

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