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1893 __ Telefon Hirmondó, Budapest
Tivadar Puskás (1844-1893)
Comment : Broadcast operas and telephone newspaper via telephone lines. The name « Telefon Hirmondó » was generally translated into English as the "Telephone News-teller" or "Telephone Herald". Its founder was the inventor Tivadar Puskás. Telephone newspaper is a general term for the telephone-based news and entertainment services that were introduced beginning in the 1890s, and primarily located in large European cities. These systems were the first example of electronic broadcasting, and offered a wide variety of programming; however, only a relative few were ever established. Although these systems predated the invention of radio, they were supplanted by radio broadcasting stations beginning in the 1920s, primarily because radio signals were able to cover much wider areas with higher quality audio. « Hirmondo is at present trying an experiment with "penny-in-the-slot" machines. The coin used is a 20-filler piece, worth about two cents in our money. Music by telephone, whether vocal or instrumental, still leaves something to be desired. The telephone timbre must be got rid of before music can be transmitted satisfactorily. The report of news, however, is highly satisfactory » (World's Work, April, 1901, pages 640-643). The service was installed both in commercial establishments, including hotels and doctor's offices, plus private homes. This would become the most prominent and longest-lived of the Telephone Newspaper systems, surviving in a limited fashion until 1944.When it started, Telefon Hírmondó had no wires of its own. Under the guidance its technical director Nándor Szmazsenka, the company built up a network independent of the telephones lines used for conversation. Telefon Hírmondó divided the entire city of Budapest into twenty-seven districts, and had the rights to place wires in a way similar to the telephone and telegraph companies. When it started, the company had 43 miles (69 km) of wire, which increased to 372 miles (599 km) in 1901, and 1,100 miles (1,800 km) in 1907. The main wire ran to each district, with branch wires to the houses. Twenty-seven copper wires ran from microphone receivers in the Opera House to the central office, where the current would pass through a patent device that would increase the sound. The distribution to subscribers would be regulated by another patented device. Telefon Hírmondó collected the news using the methods commonly employed by the print newspapers. The reporter would write the matter and submit it to the chief, who would sign it to fix responsibility. A clerk would then carefully copy the matter with lithographic ink on long galley slips. These would be transferred to the lithography stone, so as to appear in parallel columns 6 inches in width and two feet in length. Then, two pressmen would take a number of impressions on a roller-movement hand press, using common printing paper. Each sheet would be proofread by an assistant editor, with help of a copyholder. The verified sheet would comprise a certain part of the programmer, and would constitute the day's file along with the other sheets. A duplicate would be cut up into convenient strips for the use of the stentor (the person who would read the news into the transmitter). The stentor would talk into a double receiver to transmit the news. Andrew Orlowski has called the Telefon Hírmondó service "a historical antecedent" of the WAP and mobile data services. Carolyn Marvin states that Telefon Hírmondó can be seen as a "proto-broadcasting system", and An Nguyen notes that it might also fit into the definition of online news as the content was delivered over a point-to-point communication network only to selected users. At the beginning the Telefon Hirmondó provided a short hourly news program over regular phone lines, however, this was soon expanded into a continuous service over the company's own lines. Its schedule in 1907 was as follows: A. M.9:00 -- . . Exact astronomical time.9:30 -- 10:00 . . Reading of programme of Vienna and foreign news and of chief contents of the official press.10:00 -- 10:30 . . Local exchange quotations.10:30 -- 11:00 . . Chief contents of local daily press.11:00 -- 11:15 . . General news and finance.11:15 -- 11:30 . . Local, theatrical, and sporting news.11:30 -- 11:45 . . Vienna exchange news.11:45 -- 12:00 . . Parliamentary, provincial, and foreign news.12:00 noon . . Exact astronomical time.P. M.12:00 -- 12:30 . . Latest general news, news, parliamentary, court, political, and military.12:30 -- 1:00 . . Midday exchange quotations.1:00 -- 2:0 . . Repetition of the half-day's most interesting news.2:00 -- 2:30 . . Foreign telegrams and latest general news.2:30 -- 3:00 . . Parliamentary and local news.3:00 -- 3:15 . . Latest exchange reports.3:15 -- 4:00 . . Weather, parliamentary, legal, theatrical, fashion and sporting news.4:00 -- 4:30 . . Latest exchange reports and general news.4:30 -- 6:30 . . Regimental bands.7:00 -- 8:15 . . Opera.8:15 (or after the first act of the opera) . . Exchange news from New York, Frankfort, Paris, Berlin, London, and other business centers.8:30 -- 9:30 . . Opera. (Compiled from various sources Thomas H. White, “Articles and extracts about early radio and related technologies, concentrating on the United States in the period from 1897 to 1927”)
Source : Marvin, Carolyn (1990), “When Old Technologies Were New: Thinking About Electric Communication in the Late Nineteenth Century”, Oxford University Press.
Urls : http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Telephone_newspaper (last visited ) http://earlyradiohistory.us/telenew1.htm (last visited ) http://earlyradiohistory.us/sec003.htm (last visited )

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