17 8 / 2012
August 17, 2012
Just finished reading a fascinating book, ‘The Victorian Internet by Tom Standage’ it’s a great book that gives the history of the Telegraph, and compares it to today’s Internet.
The telegraph shares many similarities to today’s Internet, such as both skilled operators developed coded messages and cracked them, and both helped it’s users find romance across the wire. Telegraphers often preferred using the telegraph than speaking to their contacts in person. In finding love, it didn’t always go as planned they would often fall for their beloved over the telegraph wire only to meet them in person, and quickly bring it to an end.
(Some of the side cover information: The book talks about Samuel F. B. Morse, who developed the first practical electric telegraph in 1837, and Thomas Edison, who began his career in the telegraph business and proposed to his wife by tapping Morse code on her hand. By 1865 telegraph cables spanned continents and oceans, revolutionizing the way countries dealt with one another.)
The government also attempted to regulate the telegraph to no avail, it’s users would only invent new code to get around the laws. This is very similar to what is going on today.
I got this book at my local library bookstore for $1.00 since it was withdrawn. I also bought five or so more books, as I get through them I will share what I learned. You may be able to find a pdf ebook for ‘The Victorian Internet’ if you want to read it. It’s a great and informative read.
Thanks for reading!
(author of Garden Pleasures a book of poems, & blogger)