Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Today -100: July 20, 1910: The king has emigrated, long live the king

A new Gypsy King has been elected, Emil Mitchell. The gypsy chiefs had intended to make the formal proclamation at the US State Department building, but were not allowed to do so. The king is described as “a big, bewhiskered nomad about fifty years old”. The previous king is not dead, but emigrated to Canada, which is much the same thing considered to constitute abdication.

With a new cable between England and France making telephonic communication intelligible, or reasonably close to it, for the first time, the NYT speculates that it might soon be possible to lay a trans-Atlantic line, although obviously “It is not conceivable that ocean telephoning will ever be cheap”, or competitive with the telegraph or wireless. And it suggests that such communication, “overcoming the remoteness of nations” as it does, will prevent wars.

This is all predicated on a method, developed just a decade before, of reinforcing telephone wires at specific intervals with copper wire. Until that method was discovered (the telephone was invented in 1876), the electric waves dissipated so that phone conversation was only feasible up to 20 miles or so.

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