Add a Comment to this Note (list members only)
Dead medium: The Telegraph: Wheatstone's Telegraphic Meterometer; *Scientific American* Dead Media References 1867-1875
From: From: Jones)
Source(s): *Scientific American*, December 7, 1867

(((Stefan Jones remarks: For much of its first century, *Scientific American* was a deadly serious weekly newspaper for "mechanics" and others interested in industrial and scientific progress. Its no-nonsense attitude didn't allow for much in the way of technological speculation, or coverage of outlandish devices. Entertainment devices like the magic lantern seemed to be beyond the pale, although one or two articles on painting slides for the devices were included.

(((The telegraph seemed worthy of *SciAm's* attention, however. Articles on the spread, improvement, use and abuse of the device were quite common. Here is a sample.)))

"TELEGRAPHIC METEROMETERS == Prof. Wheatstone has devised a new class of instruments for taking observations in stations which for any cause are not accessible for very long periods. The telegraphic thermometer, a type of this class, consists of essentially two parts; the first is the magnetic motor, constructed on a plan similar to that used by the inventor in his alphabetical magnetic telegraph, and is so arranged that by turning a handle the lever at the other extremity of the line will describe by regular steps a complete circle. The second part consists of a metallic thermometer, in which the unequal expansion of two metals is made to move a lever or pin around a graduated circle which marks the degrees of temperature. The two parts are in such proximity that the telegraphic lever in passing around the circle must, at some point, come in contact with the pin, which is moved by means of the expanding or contracting metals. This contact breaks one circuit and commpletes another, and thus transmits to the other extremity of the telegraphic line information of the particular degree of heat at the instant indicated by the thermometer. This thermometer is not self-recording, but responds accurately whenever questioned."

Other *Scientific American* citations of interest to Dead Media Necronauts:

"The Pneumatic Dispatch" == Scientific American, Jan 5, 1867. Vol 16, No. 1 Illustrated description of a pneumatic mail system. The authors (some of whom perhaps helped build the SciAm's pirate pneumatic subway in downtown Manhattan?) seem to be on a mission.

"The Pneumatic Sub-Aqueous Tube" March 16, 1867, Vol 16, No. 11 An underwater tunnel for pneumatic delivery services.

"Transatlantic Pigeon Post" Nov. 6, 1875, page 295. Brief article describing attempt by Britons to set up delivery from home islands to Canada via Iceland.

"Pneumatic Telegraphy" Jan. 8, 1876, Page 16.

"To Draw and Paint Magic Lantern Slides" Nov. 18, 1876, Page 330. Half-column how-to article. Not very revealing. There was one more on this subject around 1866.

"Eighty Miles an Hour in Pneumatic Tubes == The Atmospheric Post between Paris and Versailles" == Sept. 11, 1875, Volume 33, #11. Long article about the service described in the title. Rather technical description of the machinery that generates the vacuum / pressure used to drive the cylinder.

I won't be writing any of these up. I'm hoping to find something really cool. Most *Scientific American* numbers have cover articles about improved streetcar breaks, brick presses, mangles and other hardware with rather low memetic density.

Stefan Jones (