Download America Calling: A Social History of the Telephone to 1940 by Claude S. Fischer PDF

By Claude S. Fischer

The phone looms huge in our lives, as ever found in sleek societies as automobiles and tv. Claude Fischer offers the 1st social historical past of this very important yet little-studied technology--how we encountered, established, and finally embraced it with enthusiasm. utilizing cell advertisements, oral histories, mobilephone correspondence, and statistical info, Fischer's paintings is a colourful exploration of ways, while, and why american citizens begun speaking during this extensively new manner.Studying 3 California groups, Fischer uncovers how the phone turned built-in into the non-public worlds and group actions of general american citizens within the first many years of this century. ladies have been particularly avid of their use, a phenomenon which the first vigorously discouraged after which later wholeheartedly promoted. repeatedly Fischer unearths that the phone supported a wide-ranging community of social family and performed an important function in group existence, specially for ladies, from organizing kid's relationships and church actions to assuaging the loneliness and tedium of rural life.Deftly written and meticulously researched, the US Calling provides an immense new bankruptcy to the social heritage of our state and illuminates a basic element of cultural modernism that's imperative to modern lifestyles.

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Additional info for America Calling: A Social History of the Telephone to 1940

Sample text

The telephone soon lost its newsworthiness. The quiet atmosphere that came to surround it probably reflected the removal of political control from the towns to the state, the emerging dominance of Bell, and perhaps the way in which the telephone literally became part of the unremarkable furniture in the homes of middle-class people. It was not so with the automobile. The Automobile Arrives The first reports of automobile sightings were filled with amazement. Wonder soon mixed with outrage, however, as touring automobilists upset local buggy drivers, made horses bolt, kicked up dust, and caused accidents.

The telephone soon became commonplace to the affluent and familiar even to those who were not wealthy. A woman who had worked the Antioch switchboard while in high school told us that even for nonsubscribers in the late 1910s, "It wasn't like you never saw a telephone. " The telephone soon lost its newsworthiness. The quiet atmosphere that came to surround it probably reflected the removal of political control from the towns to the state, the emerging dominance of Bell, and perhaps the way in which the telephone literally became part of the unremarkable furniture in the homes of middle-class people.

A Palo Alto resident born in 1892 recalled that around 1905, "Very few people had phones. They were too expensive. " Others remembered that, in later years, their families had telephones because their fathers needed it for work. The fathers of these respondents included doctors, a contractor, an investor, a lineman for the gas company, and a school principal. Again, having servants sharply distinguished subscribing households; over 70 percent of those with a servant had telephones. Almost half of the notable households subscribed.

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