Monday, May 07, 2007

Proto internet. 1895

Shamelessly lifted from
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The Telephone Herald of Budapest — Has 6,000 Subscribers — In Operation Two Years — News Carefully Edited — Between Editions Concerts Are Given

The telephone newspaper organized at Budapest has now been working successfully for two years. It is the only newspaper of the kind in the world. It is called The Telephono Hirnondo, or Herald, costs 2 cents like a printed paper and is valuable to persons who are unable or too lazy to use their eyes or who cannot read. It has 6,000 subscribers, who receive the news as they would ordinary telephone messages. A special wire 168 miles long runs along the windows of the houses of subscribers, which are connected with the main line by separate wires and special apparatus which prevents the blocking of the system by an accident at any one of the stations.Within the houses long, flexible wires make it possible to carry the receiver to the bed or elsewhere in the room. The news is not delivered as it happens to come in, but is carefully edited and arranged according to a printed schedule, so that a subscriber at any time knows what part of the paper he is going to hear. It begins with the night telegrams from all parts of Europe. Then comes the calendar of events for the day, with the city news and the lists of strangers at the hotels. After that follow articles on music, art and literature. The staff is organized like that of any other newspaper and is on duty from 7:30 in the morning till 9:30 at night.After the copy has passed through the editor's hands, for the paper is subject to the same restrictions as ordinary newspapers and is liable for its communications, it is given to the "speakers." These are ten men with strong voices and clear enunciation, who work in shifts of two at a time and talk the news through the telephone. There are 23 editions uttered a day. Additions to the first edition are announced as news items. To fill up the time when no news is coming in the subscribers are entertained with vocal and instrumental concerts.These were at first given for them especially in the office of The Hirnondo, but now the wire is in communication with the opera house and the music halls and on Sundays and saints' days with the churches. The music is transmitted at times to other places in Austria-Hungary, and recently The Hirnondo michrophone was connected with the circuit going from Triest, through Vienna, Bremen and Budapest, to Berlin, the music being heard in all these places with equal clearness and force. The happy Hungarian can lie abed all day and hear everything that is going on in his town.Such a newspaper as the one described was foreshadowed by a writer in the British and Colonial Printer and Stationer in December, 1893. In the article, which was entitled "A Fairy Tale For Printers," an attempt was made to forecast the future of the daily newspaper, and The Telephono Hirnondo closely resembles the writer's ideal. —

Davenport Daily Republican, Davenport, IA, Oct. 5, 1895, p. 3.

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