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Dead medium: Theatrophonic televangelism
From: From: :bruces@well.com (Bruce Sterling)
Source(s): WHEN OLD TECHNOLOGIES WERE NEW: Thinking About

Electric Communication in the Late Nineteenth Century by

Carolyn Marvin
Oxford University Press 1988 ISBN 0-19-504468-1

page 215

"Church services were also an occasion for telephone

transmission. From about 1894, telephone wires connected

subscribers with local pulpits in towns as large as

Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, and as small as Paris, Texas.

Inclement weather prompted the Reverend D. L. Coale to

connect a large megaphone to a telephone receiver in the

Anson, Texas, church auditorium where he was conducting a

revival in 1912, so that those absent from services might

receive the benefit of sermons and singing. More than

five hundred were said to have listened to revival

services, and a number of conversions were made by wire.

"Telephone pulpits seemed to have come earlier to

British churches. An account of the inauguration in 1890

of a service in Christ Church in Birmingham with

connection to subscribers in London, Manchester, Derby,

Coventry, Kidderminster, and Hanley went as follows:

"'When the morning service commenced there was what

appeared to be an unseemly clamor to hear the services.

The opening prayer was interrupted by cries of 'Hello,

there!' 'Are you there?' 'Put me onto Christ Church.'

'No, I don't want the church,' etc. But presently quiet

obtained and by the time the Psalms were reached we got

almost unbroken connection and could follow the course of

the services. We could hear little of the prayers ==

probably from the fact that the officiating minister was

not within voice-reach of the transmitter. The organ had

a faint, far-away sound, but the singing and the sermon

were a distinct success.'

"Subscribers in Glasgow listened to their first

telephonic church service in 1892. By 1895 connections

for subscribers and hospital patients had been made to the

leading churches of London, including St. Margaret's,

Westminster; St. Anne's, Soho; and St. Martin's-in-the-

Fields and St. Michael's, Chester Square, by Electrophone

Limited."