JF Ptak Science Books Post 2570
This short notice of work-under-way, "Seeing by Telegraphy" by William.Edward Ayrton (1847-1908, electrical engineer, F.R.S., and electrical infrastructure pioneer of Japan and India) and John Perry (M.E., F.R.S.), is one of those fascinating little "pop-ups" that appeared in the preeminent weekly journal Nature on May 13, 1880 (page 31). Nature of course published quick announcements of breaking scientific research in lengthier articles, and it would also publish short notices of articles appearing in other journals, and also would have shorter notices like the one below.
This is why it is so exciting to just browse/graze in these journals--you never really know what you might find. This was unexpected, though had it not been for the catching title, I would have no doubt passed it by.
It turns out that this is a very early rumination on the possibilities of "television", though at this time that name didn't exist, and the people working in the area of transmitting images by wire referred to it (for example) as "Seeing by Telegraphy" (Henry Middleton, 1880) and "Seeing by Electricity" (J.E.H. Gordon, again in an article in 1880). Earlier still (and perhaps first on the scene) is Adriano de Paivra (1847-1907), who wrote "A Telephonia, a telegraphia, e a telescopia" in 1878, introducing a fantastic and beautifully-named idea of the electric telescope, the telectroscope, or long distance vision by wire.
A longer article on the above appears slightly later in Science, in 1880, the full text available below.
As it turns out, I've read that Perry and Ayrton were influenced/energized by a cartoon of the future of communication that appeared in Punch magazine in the "Almanak" section for 1879. This was supposed to be an invention named the "Telephonoscope"