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The Victorian Internet: The Remarkable Story of the Telegraph and the… (1998)

by Tom Standage

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,2432713,296 (3.86)54
The Victorian Internet tells the colorful story of the telegraph's creation and remarkable impact, and of the visionaries, oddballs, and eccentrics who pioneered it, from the eighteenth-century French scientist Jean-Antoine Nollet to Samuel F. B. Morse and Thomas Edison. The electric telegraph nullified distance and shrank the world quicker and further than ever before or since, and its story mirrors and predicts that of the Internet in numerous ways.… (more)
  1. 10
    A Thread Across the Ocean: The Heroic Story of the Transatlantic Cable by John Steele Gordon (ABVR)
    ABVR: Another short (< 250 page), well-written, non-technical history of the telegraph in the 19C. Gordon focuses on one piece of the core infrastructure, Standage on the instrument itself and its social impact.
  2. 10
    Future Shock by Alvin Toffler (fugitive)
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» See also 54 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 27 (next | show all)
I've certainly read worse books. This provides a nice, general, history of the telegraph. Standage does a fine job of providing a brief context but the real strength is looking at the boarder impact of the technology (and the offshoots from those early successes). This book successeds in conveying the idea of invention as a team or compounding practice, and Standage provides those steps along the way. It would, however, have been nice to see a more clear context and credit provided for the development of the telegraph - Alfred Vail's contributions were glossed over, in turn presenting him as simply an assistant or part-time helper. Further context would always have been welcomed, but given the scope and audience of the book the lack thereof is acceptable.
Overall, a fine and easy read to provide a refresher on the topic. ( )
  E_Morgan_Huhn | Oct 26, 2022 |
Very enlightening! It’s amazing the parallels that exist between the early days of telegraphy and our own internet and cell phones. This very readable book takes you through the early development of the idea of telegraphy. It was a radical in it’s time. In fact I suspect even more radical then our own cell phones of today. I would loved to have seen some discussion or wireless telegraphy being my only suggestion. Recommended!! ( )
  stevetempo | Sep 26, 2022 |
I expected the title to be hype but was pleasantly surprised by this book. The first online dating, marriage all took place over the telegraph. First online crime took place over the telegraph. When it was first built it was expected to usher in a lasting world peace as governments could instantly communicate with each other. This book is well worth the time to read. ( )
  kevn57 | Dec 8, 2021 |
Enjoyable tale of early ingenuity in sending messages long distances moves into great detail on development and final adoption of the electric telegraph.

Though often slow moving, writing picks up when transatlantic cables are attempted.

That the telegraph did not develop into the promise of being a major instrument for World Peace,
this invention by Frenchman Claude Chappe definitely forever changed world communication.

The history would be enhanced by a video showing exactly how his systems of wood panels and clocks really worked. ( )
  m.belljackson | Apr 15, 2021 |
The telegraph's invention, adoption, improvements and swift decline really makes you compare to the internet's trajectory. I really liked being introduced to all the inventors, however farcical some of them were. I liked the juicy tidbits on Edison's contributions.. Good succinct informative read. ( )
  bsmashers | Aug 1, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 27 (next | show all)
"an engaging and readable account of the invention, growth, and decline of the telegraph. "
added by wademlee | editLibrary Journal, Wade Lee
 

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Standage, Tomprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Snow, GeorgeCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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In the nineteenth century, there were no televisions, aeroplanes, computers, or spacecraft; neither were there antibiotics, credit cards, microwave ovens, compact discs, or mobile phones.
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The Victorian Internet tells the colorful story of the telegraph's creation and remarkable impact, and of the visionaries, oddballs, and eccentrics who pioneered it, from the eighteenth-century French scientist Jean-Antoine Nollet to Samuel F. B. Morse and Thomas Edison. The electric telegraph nullified distance and shrank the world quicker and further than ever before or since, and its story mirrors and predicts that of the Internet in numerous ways.

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Tantor Media

An edition of this book was published by Tantor Media.

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