Which modern technology “enables us to send communications…with the quickness of thought, and to annihilate time as well as space”? If you answered “the internet,” you’re right. If you answered “the telephone,” “the television” or any other speed-of-light telecommunication technology, you’re also right. That quote is from an 1860 book by George Bartlett Prescott, an American telegraph official.
In 1860, the fastest telecommunication link between California and New York was the Pony Express, which took at least 10 days to get a message to the other side of the continent. Then one day in 1861, the First Transcontinental Telegraph was completed and you could send the same message across the continent in 10 seconds. Two days later, the Pony Express officially ceased operations. Prescott was onto something.
The Ancient Greek word “tele” means “far away”. To telecommunicate is to communicate farther than you can shout. When you connect two points…
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