The Victorian Internet

I remember being intrigued by kottke's plug for The Victorian Internet a few years ago. The book draws parallels between the development of the telegraph and the internet. When I saw it again the other day on, I decided to head over to the CMU library and pick up a copy.

It's a comfortable read. I had no idea that early mechanical telegraphs were actually built across Europe. Huge signalling stations employed complex arrays of levers and flags to transmit coded letters to line-of-sight stations, the operators of which viewed the distant signals through telescopes. In France, where the technology developed, they held on to the idea of a mechanical telegraph well into the electric age.

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