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1890 __ Telephone concert at the Grand Union Hotel in Saratoga
Comment : In the summer of 1890, at the Grand Union Hotel in Saratoga, eight hundred people were provided with a concert by telephone wire from Madison Square Garden, as well as entertainment from other points, including dance music and a recitation of "The Charge of the Light Brigade". The program was also heard by a gathering at the home of a telephone executive in New Jersey, where guests danced "with perfect ease" to the music. Both here and at Saratoga regular telephone receivers were used.with an improvised addition : " The orchestral music was listened to at Saratoga, by means of sets of hand telephones, and every note was heard distinctly, even to the applause of the audience gathered at Madison Square Garden. Some of the songs and solos and the recitation were heard all over the room at Saratoga by means of a single loud-speaking receiver provided with a large funnel-shaped resonator to magnify the sound." Significantly, the magazine which reported this event, "Electrical Engineer", felt that the American Telephone and Telegraph Company was not doing enough to exploit the possibilities of "furnishing of musical and other entertainments by wire at the fireside" (Quoted, Banning, "Commercial Broacasting Pioneer", pp. 4-5). The truth was, the telephone company was finding it profitable to concentrate on what had become its special function, a link for two-way talk. It saw for the moment little reason for digressing into what must have seemed, at best, side-show possibilities. But when the wireless age dawned, such dreams stirred again. (Erik Barnouw)
Source : Barnouw, Erik (1966), “A Tower in Babel. A History of Broadcasting in the United States”, Vol. I, Oxford University Press, New York, pp. 8-9.
Urls : http://histv2.free.fr/theatrophone/theatrophone2.htm (last visited )

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