NMSAT :: Networked Music & SoundArt Timeline

1915 __ The Man in the Multitude
Comment : A man with a telephone sits in a chair above and to the side of a panoramic view of a great mass of people. He looks down and away from the crowd, like the earlier telegraph operator, his legs are crossed.he is comfortable, at ease, and in commnd. His hand is to his ear, and his eyes are free to do as they please. In the distance, the picture shows antoher man with a telephone; a telescopic line connects the two : “You can single out from this vast throng any particular individual with whom you desire to speak”. (Jonathan Sterne, p. 169-171)
Original excerpt : « The Man in the Multitude.That the human voice may be transmitted across our continent by telephone is the marvel of this age of wonders. Yet the full significance of the achievement is not realized if it is considered strictly as a coast-to-coast connection. The Transcontinetal Line not only bridges the country from east to west, but, by having finally overcome the great barrier of distance, it has removed the last limitation of telephone communication between all the people of the nation. This means that the voice can be sent not only from New York to San Francisco, but from “anywhere” to “anywhere”.even from “any one” to “any one”.in the United States. Whenever your are, it is possible to reach any one of our hundred million population. You can single out from this vast throng any particular individual with thom you desire to speak. To bring this about, the Bell System has spent years and millions, extending its lines everywhere, anticipating the ultimate triumph. It has had the foresight and the courage to unite this great country, community by community, into one telephone neightborhood. With success achieved by the Transcontinental Line, the established Bell highways make you, wherever you are, the near neighbor of your farthest away fellow citizen.American Telephone And Telegraph Company.And Associated Companies.One Policy.One System.Universal Service.”. » (In “Popular Mechanics Magazine”, October 1915, p. 180; and also In “Boy’s Life - The Boy Scouts’ Magazine”, October 1915, Vol. V, No. 8, p. 23; Advertisement for AT&T’s phone service; cited by Jonathan Sterne, p. 170)
Source : Sterne, Jonathan (2003), “The Audible Past - Cultural Origins of Sound Reproduction”, Durham & London : Duke University Press, pp. 169-171.

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