melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
melannen ([personal profile] melannen) wrote2010-11-20 01:12 am

Yuletide letter appendices

...shut up, appendices are totally not going overboard.

A Mobile Phone from 1912
This was acquired for me by [personal profile] merrily, a kind stranger, and then like a putz I failed to do anything with it. So I share it with you now. You will note that not only does this one page contain a RL gaslight-era mobile phone, it also discusses nanotech and submarine railroads. (Look, if we want amazing, anachronistically advanced technology, we do not need steampunk fiction; we only need to read a bit of period primary sources.) And yes, Miss Madelyn Mack had one.

A POCKET TELEPHONE ("A Pocket Telephone," Literary Digest, Vol. 44 (March 30, 1912) p. 639)

A DEVICE known as a "pocket telephone" is now being used in Berlin, Germany, having been adopted by the municipal authorities there. The device, says Telephony (Chicago, March 2), which accepts as authoritative the data given by the New York American, apparently accomplishes the same results as do the microphones now used largely in this country, particularly in the "wayside" services, although varying materially in appearance. We are informed:
"In consequence of the enormous expansion of the German capital, there are many outlying districts which are rendered unsafe through insufficient policing, and the pocket telehone was readily adopted as a partial solution of this problem. The new system is greatly favored as a adjunct to the police system generally, however, for every police-man is provided with a pocket telephone and can communicate with headquarters or other city departments whenever he finds it necessary.

"In the parks and forests the contact stations are located on convenient trees, and one may now take a long walk through the woods and still be in touch with the city at all times."
The accompanying illustration shows a woman member of the German secret service summoning a police-patrol wagon. The article continues:
"Contact devices have been provided on every street at very short distances. They are fastened t owalls, doors, trees, lamp-posts, or other convenient places. They are tightly enclosed, so that neither humidity nor storms can damage them, and they are thoroughly insulated.

"There are so many of these contact places that it is now as easy to telephone as it is to mail a letter. Indeed, in the busy portions of Berlin there are two or three of these contact places to every block.

"Of course, one misses the privacy of the telephone booth, altho the pocket telephone is so delicately constructed that one need speak only in a very low tone of voice."
The device is so small, Telephony goes on to say, that it may be carried in a pocket or a hand-bag. Reciever and transmitter fit into a circular nickel case two and a half inches in diameter and three-quartrers of an inch thick. The whole weighs only seven ounces. They are said to be becoming very popular, particularly among those accustomed to being abroad a great deal."

Original scan of Pocket Telephone article here.

Years of Halloween full moons from the start of the Gregorian calendar to the 22nd century.

There are so many possibilities here, folks! Pick a historical era and pick a place and pick some characters! I put in some suggestions, but they are so very much not binding, and also, they are centered on Europe and America only because I am most familiar with those histories, not because I most want stories from there. Also, I may come and backfill some of these later, don't mind me.

1620 -- was the Game played in New England for the first time? And how badly did Jack want to be there to join it?
1811 --(Regency! AoS! Kitty Bennett, Vampire Slayer! Stephen Maturin! You know you want to.)
1887 --(This is almost certainly the year of A Night in the Lonesome October

1925 -- (this is a year in the heart of Lovecraft's ouvre, and all of golden age of pulp fiction.)
1944 -- (fighting the game in the middle of the War. Assuming anybody had the time to play. Of course, there were lots of people trying to fight the supernatural side of the War, too.)
1955 -- (Seriously, I am in love with bringing kaijuu into this. A game in the midst of B-movie monsters and the Cold War.)
1974 -- (the Death Eaters are running rampant! And so is Rupert Giles...)
2020 -- (A forty-six-year gap between Games - the longest since 1811. Who's still around to remember? And who of the new generation do they send in their stead?)

...and now I feel like this post belongs as a missing chapter of Areas of My Expertise. A theme, I has one.

And since Bucketeers and Hodgman are feeling left out, here is an mp3 that will do for both: Jonathan Coulton sings Furry Old Lobster

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