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(Gizmodo)   In the late 1800s, New York City was covered in an insane web of telephone and telegraph wires   (gizmodo.com ) divider line
    More: Interesting, New York, telephones  
•       •       •

11964 clicks; posted to Main » on 02 Mar 2014 at 1:45 AM (2 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



33 Comments     (+0 »)
 
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest
 
2014-03-02 12:30:00 AM  
If you work in an old building odds are it looks just like that above the drop ceiling.
 
2014-03-02 12:36:29 AM  
Amazing photos...
 
2014-03-02 01:04:42 AM  
Looks like Tokyo.
 
2014-03-02 01:25:28 AM  
This is basically the reason circuit switching was invented.
 
2014-03-02 01:47:08 AM  
livingintokyo.files.wordpress.com

Tokyo hasn't caught up.
 
2014-03-02 01:52:00 AM  
 
2014-03-02 01:56:33 AM  
That is at lest the 3rd or 4th Gizmodo story by Ashley Feinberg that was wildly and obviously inaccurate, demonstrating a habitual lack of research on her part. She must be the owner's daughter or something.

Some of those wires may be telephone wires. The rest are telegraph and DC power lines.
 
2014-03-02 01:57:52 AM  

100 Watt Walrus: That is at lest the 3rd or 4th Gizmodo story by Ashley Feinberg that was wildly and obviously inaccurate, demonstrating a habitual lack of research on her part. She must be the owner's daughter or something.

Some of those wires may be telephone wires. The rest are telegraph and DC power lines.


Would you say she is a liar liar pants on fire?
 
2014-03-02 01:58:25 AM  

engineering.electrical-equipment.org

It could have been different...

 
2014-03-02 02:16:43 AM  

phrawgh: [engineering.electrical-equipment.org image 260x280]It could have been different...


For every sustainable and feasible idea Tesla had, he had 30 or 40 more that weren't. That was one of them.
 
2014-03-02 02:23:35 AM  

Weatherkiss: phrawgh: [engineering.electrical-equipment.org image 260x280]It could have been different...

For every sustainable and feasible idea Tesla had, he had 30 or 40 more that weren't. That was one of them.


I blame BIG OIL, BIG COAL, and Obammy.
 
2014-03-02 02:27:40 AM  

Weatherkiss: phrawgh: [engineering.electrical-equipment.org image 260x280]It could have been different...

For every sustainable and feasible idea Tesla had, he had 30 or 40 more that weren't. That was one of them.


Yup, unless you had a means of producing near unlimited virtually free energy radio frequencies for electricity grid is just not going to work.
 
2014-03-02 02:29:18 AM  

100 Watt Walrus: That is at lest the 3rd or 4th Gizmodo story by Ashley Feinberg that was wildly and obviously inaccurate, demonstrating a habitual lack of research on her part. She must be the owner's daughter or something.

Some of those wires may be telephone wires. The rest are telegraph and DC power lines.


Yep. And weren't there multiple power companies in NYC at the time contributing to all of the wire mess?
 
2014-03-02 02:41:49 AM  

Zarquon's Flat Tire: If you work in an old building odds are it looks just like that above the drop ceiling.


Try a  major TV network affiliate station that's been around since the beginning.
There are cables up there that haven't been active since the 1950s, but trying to remove them would open a major can of worms.
 
2014-03-02 02:50:19 AM  
Great find Subby. Thanks for posting.
 
2014-03-02 02:54:48 AM  
Something something Free Market?
 
2014-03-02 03:02:27 AM  
This free reprint history of the telephone published in 1910 is excellent
 
2014-03-02 03:07:56 AM  
1875, but the first phone installation didn't come about for another three years.

So, 1878.

these photos from 1887...just seven years after that first installation.

911, help, I blacked out for two years!
 
2014-03-02 03:51:35 AM  
AverageAmericanGuy: 100 Watt Walrus: That is at lest the 3rd or 4th Gizmodo story by Ashley Feinberg that was wildly and obviously inaccurate, demonstrating a habitual lack of research on her part. She must be the owner's daughter or something.

Some of those wires may be telephone wires. The rest are telegraph and DC power lines.

Would you say she is a liar liar pants on fire?


I would say this might explain / place a few things into a better perspective:


img.fark.net
 
2014-03-02 03:59:23 AM  

Weatherkiss: For every sustainable and feasible idea Tesla had, he had 30 or 40 more that weren't. That was one of them.


Plus he simply couldn't productize his feasible ideas and could write a business plan for the life of him.  Its doubtful that anyone would of even known of him without Edison.

/theoatmeal can suck my cock
 
2014-03-02 04:40:26 AM  

100 Watt Walrus: That is at lest the 3rd or 4th Gizmodo story by Ashley Feinberg that was wildly and obviously inaccurate, demonstrating a habitual lack of research on her part. She must be the owner's daughter or something.

Some of those wires may be telephone wires. The rest are telegraph and DC power lines.


She's Ric Romero's opposite.
 
2014-03-02 04:43:21 AM  

croesius: [img.gawkerassets.com image 640x433]

http://kotaku.com/welcome-to-tangled-internet-cable-hell-1507218144

China laughs at your clutter


I bet they still get faster streaming from YourTube and Natflix.
 
2014-03-02 05:05:47 AM  
Actually if you know American History you would know that  most of those are electrical wires, not phones. In the early days a city like New York or Chicago has dozens of electrical providers each with a different wire system and power plants. The city owned the poles and the companies leased the rights to place wires o them. So if you switched electrical providers they would unhook your old one and hook you house into the wires of the new company. It was electrical not phones, in fact it was because of the mass tangle of wires that cities starting granting public municipality monopolies like in NYC today is ConEd, thus eliminating the wire problems. As a history grad student is bothers me every time photos like these come out the various websites all say phones, when if they had just taken an undergrad class they would know it is electrical wiring.
 
2014-03-02 05:23:38 AM  

gingerjet: Its doubtful that anyone would of even known of him without Edison.


I'm sure he'd have landed some where sooner or later.  A genius who knows he has to work for someone isn't going to be sitting around for long.

Westinghouse scooped him up right away after his rift with Edison after all.
 
2014-03-02 06:11:35 AM  

TommyymmoT: Zarquon's Flat Tire: If you work in an old building odds are it looks just like that above the drop ceiling.

Try a  major TV network affiliate station that's been around since the beginning.
There are cables up there that haven't been active since the 1950s, but trying to remove them would open a major can of worms.


Worked for many years in television post production.  Same situation, except the wires are under the computer floor.  In some areas the 12" space under the floor is filled to the top, and it becomes difficult to add new cables.  There are old, dead, cables at the bottom, but it's usually cheaper to just leave them and place new ones on top of the pile.
 
2014-03-02 06:38:14 AM  
This article says the poles were owned by the various utilities. Is that right? Good read anyway.

http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2012-07-12/news/bs-md-backstory-und er ground-wires-20120712_1_wires-poles-baltimore-gas

"The city had passed a law in 1884 ordering the various utility companies to place their wires below the ground, which they simply ignored, saying the costs were too high."

"After the Great Blizzard of 1888 dumped 20.9 inches of snow on New York City, pulling down wires, city officials ordered that all overhead wires be buried."

"If the companies balked, their poles would be cut down."
 
2014-03-02 07:38:25 AM  
So it looked the way Ho Chi Minh City looks today?

(In the backpacker areas.)

static4.depositphotos.com
 
2014-03-02 07:59:37 AM  
If you're interested, see if you can find official state death records from the time. I imagine you'd find several deaths due to fallen wires.

I found my great-grandfather's record from 1920. (IIRC, it was nephritis, for him.) But along with a blue million deaths from TB, cancer, and heart disease of various kind there were several rare ones today like deaths from dog bites, kids suffering trolley accidents, and deaths from industrial machinery. I imagine the wires in those pictures would come down in  a storm -- particularly like the one that's setting up for today.
 
2014-03-02 08:55:46 AM  

jedihirsch: Actually if you know American History you would know that  most of those are electrical wires, not phones. In the early days a city like New York or Chicago has dozens of electrical providers each with a different wire system and power plants. The city owned the poles and the companies leased the rights to place wires o them. So if you switched electrical providers they would unhook your old one and hook you house into the wires of the new company. It was electrical not phones, in fact it was because of the mass tangle of wires that cities starting granting public municipality monopolies like in NYC today is ConEd, thus eliminating the wire problems. As a history grad student is bothers me every time photos like these come out the various websites all say phones, when if they had just taken an undergrad class they would know it is electrical wiring.


If you know a little about electrical, you could tell those are power lines.  You can see the glass insulators on the poles, those aren't for low voltage telephone or telegraph lines.

It may seem a little corny, but I wouldn't be surprised if the power company owning the pole, made sure their lines were on the top of the poles.  That would be one way of getting more customers, who want 'top o' line' power.
 
2014-03-02 09:44:32 AM  
TommyymmoT:

Try a  major TV network affiliate station that's been around since the beginning.
There are cables up there that haven't been active since the 1950s, but trying to remove them would open a major can of worms. Asbestos


/FTFY
 
2014-03-02 11:15:39 AM  

lack of warmth: jedihirsch: Actually if you know American History you would know that  most of those are electrical wires, not phones. In the early days a city like New York or Chicago has dozens of electrical providers each with a different wire system and power plants. The city owned the poles and the companies leased the rights to place wires o them. So if you switched electrical providers they would unhook your old one and hook you house into the wires of the new company. It was electrical not phones, in fact it was because of the mass tangle of wires that cities starting granting public municipality monopolies like in NYC today is ConEd, thus eliminating the wire problems. As a history grad student is bothers me every time photos like these come out the various websites all say phones, when if they had just taken an undergrad class they would know it is electrical wiring.

If you know a little about electrical, you could tell those are power lines.  You can see the glass insulators on the poles, those aren't for low voltage telephone or telegraph lines.

It may seem a little corny, but I wouldn't be surprised if the power company owning the pole, made sure their lines were on the top of the poles.  That would be one way of getting more customers, who want 'top o' line' power.


And if you know a little bit about telegraph lines, you could tell they're mostly not power lines.

Old telegraph lines were run with bare wires and glass insulators, evenly spaced like you see on those poles.  Early telephone was run the same way.  You still see poles with multiple insulators like that along some railroads, though frequently the wires are gone now.

There weren't really that many power companies in NYC, and Edison was already putting the lines underground.
 
2014-03-02 02:41:50 PM  

DarkVader: And if you know a little bit about telegraph lines, you could tell they're mostly not power lines.

Old telegraph lines were run with bare wires and glass insulators, evenly spaced like you see on those poles. Early telephone was run the same way. You still see poles with multiple insulators like that along some railroads, though frequently the wires are gone now.

There weren't really that many power companies in NYC, and Edison was already putting the lines underground.


You're correct.  Most of those are phone/telegraph.  Edison installed electric cables in NYC underground right from the jump.

Oh, there were numerous phone companies in those days, operating incompatible systems for the most part.   If you had service from  Telco A, there was a good chance you couldn't make a call to a person who had service from TelcoB.   Only after the gov allowed one phone company to become a monopoly...operating under strict regulations....did the US achieve universal phone service.  Since the deregulation of the Ma Bell, the "Baby Bells" have been agitating for total deregulation and a shutdown of the copper POTS network.  This will happen in the next 3 years or so.  Just wait until you get a dose of 100% "free market" phone service.....and you will get it.....get it good and hard.
 
2014-03-02 03:08:52 PM  

gibbon1: This free reprint history of the telephone published in 1910 is excellent


Thanks for that little nugget, it is a pretty cool book!

I of course came here to post another snarky picture, this one from Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh:
2.bp.blogspot.com
 
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