A fascinating article in the “St. Louis Globe-Democrat” of September 15, 1878 seems to include a man’s idea which is far ahead of his time. Only problem is he didn’t have access to the technological developments the next 125 years would provide.
The column heads announce: “The Newsograph” “A Most Remarkable Application of Edison’s Last Patent” “The Device of a Park Philosopher for Bringing the Word’s News To Every Man’s Home”. The article details an idea of bringing “verbal” news into every person’s home by using Edison’s phonograph patent, thereby eliminating the need for a physical newspaper (see below). A curious concept in light of today’s internet technology. Go to the link above for the full article.
The “New York Times” issue of March 25, 1878, has a fascinating editorial which is a reflection of how people were panicked by the lack of privacy over 100 years ago as they are today.
The piece about Edison’s latest invention: “The Aerophone” goes on to detail how Edison’s work is destroying society. It begins: “Something ought to be done to Mr. Edison, and there is a growing conviction that it had better be done with a hemp rope. Mr. Edison has invented too many things, and…they are things of the most deleterious character. He has been addicted to electricity..” and railing on including mention that his phonograph is responsible for destroying privacy & making it impossible for anyone to talk to anyone any more, etc. The column-long editorial ends with an over-the-top fear for the fall of society, including: “…The result will be the complete disorganization of society. Men & women will flee from civilization & seek the silence of the forest relief from the roar of countless aerophones. Business, marriage, and all social amusements will be thrown aside…It may be too late to suppress the aerophone now, but at least there is time to visit upon the head of its inventor the just indignation of his fellow countrymen.”
A fascinating report in light of current-day concerns for lack of privacy.
What was originally intended as a means for honoring the hard-working common laborers who helped build the United States into a prosperous nation (please, no “You didn’t build that!” comments), is now more closely associated with the end of summer. Families and friends join together in one final effort to squeeze the last drop of relaxation from their laborious efforts exerted through the Fall, Winter, and Spring seasons. Perhaps in the end this transition is well-suited to the intentions of the original proponents of the holiday… and much more has been gained than lost.
With appreciation for both the original and morphed sentiments of the holiday, the following links are intended to take you on a small trip back through the 19th and early 20th centuries, to view Labor Day through the eyes of those who have toiled before us. Please enjoy…
Labor Day as seen through:
Thanks again to all those who have given so much to help make the world a better place. 🙂
The editors of the June 13, 1885 issue of Scientific American thought the following “invention” was worthy of both an image and supporting text. Interesting to note that the preceding (lengthy) article on the same page was titled, “How the Sewage of Paris is Disposed of”. Perhaps they should have ended this article with the words, “and with this in mind…”. My advance apologies to the distant relatives of this inventor who may still be receiving royalties.