James Gleick

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The information

Andrew Wynter, The Nervous System of the Metropolis (1865) (via James Gleick, The Information, A History, A Theory, A Flood):

A great gap has just been filled up in our system of telegraphic communication. Cities can converse with cities, countries with countries, and even continents with continents; but house cannot communicate with house. We have the district telegraph, it is true, and by walking half a mile in town you may find a station which will send a message to within half a mile of its destination: but what is wanted is a system of telegraphy which shall dip its wires down into the library or warehouse — an elongation, if we may so term it, of our own nervous system, so simple in its construction that anyone can work it, so speedy that we may telegraph as quickly as we could write. We want, in short, in all large towns to abolish the messenger and district post…