Hats and Screens

Posted by on November 4th, 2010 at 9:33 AM

First, an Edwardian forecast. It’s from 1906 and the artist is Lewis Baumer (1870-1963). I’d say he got a lot better later on. My thanks to the British Cartoon Archive for this bio, Lambiek.net for this one (with good illos). Wiki doesn’t really have much.

The caption, big letters and small. First, “Development of Wireless Telegraphy. Scene in Hyde Park.” Then the hushed explanation: “These two figures are not communicating with each other. The lady is receiving an amatory message, the gentleman some racing results.”

I like the stipulation that the man and woman are not in contact. We’ve all heard that modern means of communication separate us from the people who are actually near us. Punch hit on the idea way back then — not necessarily to condemn it, but recognizing it as a fact of the life-yet-to-come.

Next, from 1878 we have teleconferencing. The cartoon is by George du Maurier and the caption follows below.

(Every evening, before going to bed, Pater- and Materfamilias set up an electric camera-obscura over their bedroom mantel-piece, and gladden their eyes with the sight of their Children at the Antipodes, and converse gaily with them through the wire.)

Paterfamilias (in Wilton Place). “Beatrice, come closer. I want to whisper.”

Beatrice (from Ceylon). “Yes, Papa dear.”

Paterfamilias. “Who is that charming young Lady playing on Charlie’s side?”

Beatrice. “She’s just come over from England, Papa. I’ll introduce you to her as soon as the Game’s over!”

Yeah, “Beatrice (from Ceylon).” And there’s her dad, asking about the young stuff.

I’d better note that I found the introductory paragraph (“Every evening”) at Terra Media, which has a bigger reproduction of the cartoon.

Daily proverb. Look ahead, see your back!

Stan says. Iron Man faces the menace of the Modok Machine in ish #75!

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2 Responses to “Hats and Screens”

  1. JRBrown says:

    I think the first one might be a spoof on the sort of cartoon that Charles Dana Gibson was fond of, where you have the two lovers playing footsie with the caption “Wireless Communication”, or some such thing.

  2. Tom Crippen says:

    Sounds good to me.