January 3, 2011

German empire orders hundreds of telephones

The Journal of the Society of Arts (7 December 1877) reports that the Postmaster-General of the German Empire proposed to install telephones in telegraph offices.  Several hundred telephones had been ordered from Siemens and Halske for this purpose.

In addition, telephones had been attached to either end of a telegraph wire spanning the English Channel (Dover to Sangatte - site of the French end to the Channel Tunnel), for the Submarine Telegraph Company.                       
“Talking could be heard, and also the playing of a musical box on the French coast.”  (How quaint.)
Again, I get the distinct impression that mere conversation or exchange of information was alone not deemed an appropriate use of the new telephone.  When fishing around for a use, the Victorians always seemed to think that the telephone would be a good medium for transmitting musical entertainment.

As said before, the invention of the telephone was built on the technology of the telegraph and it was first seen as an aid to telegraph operators, in communicating with operators in other offices.  It was thought to be quicker than communicating with each other via telegraph.

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Digital Telephone Book by Elizabeth Chairopoulou is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.