Thursday, August 6, 2015

Beguiled by speed….

In early August 1866 the first successful transatlantic telegraph cable was laid on the ocean bottom between Newfoundland and Ireland.

It was literally a world-changing event for the people who lived in North America and Europe.

Imagine that you had wanted to find out, in July 1866, if your Aunt Callie in Liverpool had recovered from her illness, or if your company’s London office had secured the big contract with the wine exporters in France.

The best you could hope for was a three-week turnaround on your letters of inquiry. The speediest steamships operated by the Cunard or White Star lines could manage a top speed of about 14 miles an hour in 1866. New York to London is a 3,459 mile trip. Your letters might cross the ocean in a bit more than 10 days.

Today we don’t marvel any more about being able to text or talk to anyone in the world who owns a cell phone—right now.

Imagine that you could text “Whassup?” to your best friend, Shauna, and in only three weeks she’d get back to you with “Nada, u?”

Copyright © Richard Carl Subber 2015 All rights reserved.

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