Happy Telephone Day

Before Lady Gaga: “Call all you want, but there’s no one home / And you’re not gonna reach my telephone” (2009).

Before E.T.: “E.T. phone home” (1982).

There was Johann Philipp Reis: “Das Pferd frisst keinen Gurkensalat” (1861).

150 years ago today, on October 26, 1861, Johann Philipp Reis demonstrated the newly invented telephone with these words (roughly: “The horse doesn’t eat cucumber salad”), and the rest, as they say, was history…

In honor of the telephone’s 150th birthday, the Süddeutsche Zeitung has an entertaining little article by Bernd Graff (here). Graff’s brief cultural history (“kleine Kulturgeschichte”) of the telephone also touches (very lightly) upon some of the more interesting techno-phenomenological aspects of human-telephone relations, and there are some concluding thoughts from Benjamin, Proust, McLuhan, and Flusser. (Keep in mind, it’s a popular article, but it plants some nice seeds for further thought and research.) Also interesting: Die Zeit Online has a brief summary of Johann Philipp Reis’s life, written especially for kids, with a pointer to a radio program this coming Sunday, at 8:05, on NDR Info (Mikado – Radio für Kinder).


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s