The Magic of Science
Theosophist, June, 1882
An Anglo-Indian paper of Madras speaks thus of the telephone:
The wonders of science bid fair to grow more wonderful. The latest addition, to the marvels of electricity, is a telephone which makes a conversation distinctly audible even when it is not connected with any wire. All that is necessary is that this marvellous instrument should be held within a few feet of the end of a wire connected at its other end with a transmitter. Then, when the ear is applied to the telephone, the words, which are being spoken far away, instantly become audible, and, as if by magic, the silent room is filled with the sound of distant voices. The fact that the telephone can thus, without any immediate connection with the electric wire, bring to life again, as it were, the waves of sound which have died away into silence, is a remarkable one, and seems to suggest that we are merely at the beginning of the achievements of this marvellous little instrument. It ought certainly, we should think, be easy for a person provided with a telephone of this kind to hear a speaker at a much greater distance in any public room than is possible now.
Were we to remark to this that there are other and still less bulky and objective apparatuses in existence as yet unknown to science, which enable a person to hear any speaker he likes to choose and at any distance, and even to see him—the Madras Standard would scoff at the idea. And yet, hardly ten years back, the bare mention of the possibilities of the telephone and the phonograph—both bringing back to life again “the waves of sound which have died away into silence”—would have been regarded as the fiction of a lunatic!