JF Ptak Science Books Post 2570
The first twenty pages or so of Punch, or the London Charivari, for the year 1879 are far and away my favorites of that periodical. They are absolutely loaded with visions of the past and future technologies, and most of that centered on the newest electrical inventions--and this of course is one of the greatest periods for electrical developments, seeing (all in a couple of years) electric lighting, the telephone, the phonograph, and more. In those few pages (of two issues, the first and bound first is the "Punch Almanack" for 1879 and published December 11, 1878, and then followed by the first issue for 1879, published January 11, 1879) there is a three-illustration on Thomas Edison's anti-gravity underwear (!), a full-page "Museum of Modern Antiques", "Edison's Telephonoscope...", and then the two-page "Prometheus Unbound, or Science in Olympus", while in the second issue is "The Electric Light, Pro and Con". I've written about all of these save for the cover of the "Almanack" and the "Prometheus Unbound"--the posts for the three images of Edison's Anti-Gravity Underwear have been very popular over the years.
The image on the cover of the "Almanack" features Mr. Punch introducing the shocking bit of techy newness in electricity--here though he is dancing on the cells of a Wimshurst machine, which for some reason is being operated by a dog:
And the big two-pager for science in Olympus:
Lording over the scene is Mr. Punch, resting on the shoulders of "strength" and "force", holding a scroll ("practical science") in one hand and in the other, high above, is an orb of "electricity". To Punch's left is an astonished Zeus, who holds under his a scroll labeled ("Gas Shares"), representing no doubt gas technologies that was being replaced by electricity. There's a lot going in in this print: Vulcan wondering about the steam hammer being brought to bear on an egg; Neptune being shoved away by the naval developments of deep-sea diving equipment and a torpedo (as a Mermaid retreats in tears); a boy at a telephone (in the bottom-right corner);Time as an old man under the hood of a camera, and then a few others. The obvious message here is that the previous and Olympian technologies were being overtaken by the new and electrically-based technologies of the modern age.