Telephony, June 9, 1921, page 81:

Sundry  Snapshots  Along  the  Trail

Observations  and  Comments,  Pertinent  and  Otherwise,  On  the  Sunshine  and  Shadows  of  Telephone  Work

By  Well  Clay
In days of old when a man was told
    To publish a decree,
He hopped a steed and put on speed,
    As quickly as could be.

He rode about and shouted out,
    The things he had to tell,
And if a hundred men were thus informed
    He was doing very well.

But that crude way would never pay
    In these more modern times,
When one may preach and his voice reach
    A dozen different climes.

A little spark comes through the dark
    Upon a little wire,
Its meaning read and the news is spread
    That set the world afire.
    The tale of improvement in methods to carry the human voice and other sounds afar is truly wonderful, but with all our grasping the principles and utilizing the methods, we are still some way behind what might be in this line. The idea comes to me that, with all the records of successful achievements in magnifying the human voice direct from the speaker in the open air to multitudes who are thus enabled to catch every shade of his expression, though beyond its reach, were it not aided and amplified, the idea could be further made use of in the Chautauqua field and the pulpit or stage.
    In the place of having one Chautauqua performance on a hot summer day before one small-sized audience, we could connect up a dozen towns on a circuit and let smaller towns get in on the line and hear practically all which is worth listening to, at their ease at home or in a municipal gathering, by paying something less than the Chautauqua would cost them if they were actually present.
    When 125,000 people heard President Harding deliver his inaugural address, they heard something and saw something proved. No entire crowd of such size could have heard even the sound of his voice on the outer fringes under ordinary circumstances, but with the amplifiers all were able to not only hear but to catch every syllable and shade of meaning. What a boon to short people far back in the crowd who heretofore always have been at a disadvantage in such a gathering. Now they can hear as well as the tall man in front of them. executive speaking
    It seems to me that municipalities could arrange to have concerts in the public parks these warm nights, or have the words of famous speakers, or preachers, or readers brought in over the wire from some central point in a near-by large city and transmitted to the public from an amplifier in the band stand. Speakers' bureaus could have arrangements made so that every man of fame coming into a state with a message to deliver from the platform or stage could deliver it to practically the people of the entire state if they cared to hear it.
    Culture and enlightenment could thus be spread and be within the reach of all at a cost so small that no city council would hesitate to pay the bill for the benefit of their taxpayers and constituents generally. Every speech of a governor or president could be listened to by all. In this manner they would get an ungarbled version of what was being said as well as being better enabled to form correct opinions as to the personalities of those speaking.
    No longer would it be necessary for governors and high officials with platform training and ability, to travel up and down a state speaking to a few thousands daily. What is to be said could be delivered from the executive's own home and be carried to all, thus giving the overworked officeholders time to attend to their official duties and be on the job instead of conducting an executive office from a parlor car for many months of the year. horseback crier
    Of course, there would be drawbacks and the speaker would have to be careful, in addressing the beautiful city of Bohunk, not to praise that fair burg too highly, for the townspeople of Podunk would be listening in and get sore. Also the speaker could not use the same lecture and get away with it every night as he now does. But adjustments could be made by not having him talk too many nights after he had readily delivered his message and was drained dry.
    What a wonderful thing this would be, and yet how very easy to achieve if we only take advantage of our present-day inventions. This gathering together on the part of the people of a community would be a good thing for it would be a sort of social and promote good feeling and a better understanding. Care would have to be taken to keep propaganda off the wire and advertising would have to be strictly taboo if the custom was to grow and continue to function as originally intended.
    Great minds could be used to explain modern economic matters so that there might be a fair understanding of most questions on the part of the voters, and experts on agriculture could give the rural listeners good pointers at seasonable times regarding their work and produce. All manner of things in educational and constructive news distribution lines can be performed.
    This would leave little for the newspapers to publish except murders, hold-ups and divorce suits which is about their limit anyhow in these days.
    It's a big thing in the making all right, but there's nothing impossible about it--the machinery is all invented. All that is necessary is to put it into operation and try to prevail on some modest official or great orator to do a little talking now and then when called upon.
    Then verily will the voices of the great of the nation be heard in the land and the people would know the sound of the voice of those in authority at first hand.
    APHORISM: Modern needs require modern apparatus.