Absolution by Telephone: A Catholic Debate (1882-86)

Can modern sound media really transmit the human voice across long distances?  The answer to this question is less straightforward than you might think, and I’ve rarely seen it addressed more earnestly and thoroughly than in a sequence of twelve essays from the 1880s debating the question of whether Catholic priests could use the telephone…

The First Published Accounts of the Reis Telephone (October 1861)

In case you didn’t know, Philipp Reis invented an electric telephone in 1861.  The big question has always been, as Silvanus Thompson puts it in an exhaustively researched biography published in 1883, “not whether Reis invented a telephone—that is not denied—but whether he invented the Telephone” (p. 36).  The title of Thompson’s book is Philipp Reis: Inventor of the Telephone,…