The Telephone revolution
The first commercial telephone exchange took place on 28 January 1878, reserved for the upper class it was later popularised and made affordable as a wish of his creator to make it accessible to everyone.
The telephone was instrumental to modernisation. It aided in the development of suburbs and isolated towns and villages providing them with a new vital communication infrastructure and the separation of homes and businesses, but also became a reason for the separation between women occupying the private sphere and men in the public sphere.
It enabled women to work in the telecommunications sector as receptionists and operators. women are predominantly responsible for the phone calls that bridge the public and private sphere, such as calls regarding doctor’s appointments and meetings. This emphasises the telephone’s impact on the social lives of women in the domestic sphere reducing both isolation and insecurity.
The telephones infrastructure had a very important physical impact on the city (The size of the telephone towers were relative to the number of inhabitants) before public authorities decided to and intervene and elaborate a national strategy to bury the cables underground.
I found the original testimony of David Macrae an English man that visited chicago in 1860.
David Macrae, The Americans at Home, 1870:
“… never a day passed without one or two houses shifting their quarters. One day I met nine buildings going out great Madison street, in the horse car we had to stop twice to let houses get across, some of them had people sitting at the windows, […] I wonder how was that accomplished, and I looked in to it, if you wanted to move your house in Chicago in the 1850, what you did is put it on a rolling platform and then set up a windlass further down the street in the direction you want to go and get a horse to turn that and would sort of reel you in and then when the house catches up with the windlass you just move the windlass and keep going and by that method you can take the house pretty much anywhere you want which is what lots and lots of people did […] The Chicago daily tribune on April 18th 1856 says: at noon yesterday we saw a large frame dwelling house traveling down the street while the family were eating their dinners with little concerns […] the art of house moving has been brought to great perfection.
The machinery thus called into existence makes house moving so simple, so easy that Chicago people think nothing of it. If a man with his frame house and cigar shop at one corner finds business dull he moves his shop all the way to some other street where he thinks it will brisker! In other words everything’s moving everywhere now and so if you want to find a better location for your little corner shop you can move it to another part of town …”
Despite all of that moving the city was facing a major problem with it’s sewage draining system. As a result engineers decided to lift up the entire city by a couple of feet.
The Idea of those studying those two cases is to:
1- Demonstrate that it is possible to move and shuffle buildings around in the European cities.
2- The effect that new egalitarian infrastructure and organisation can have on society and physically on a city.
I have also finished editing three panning booklets for : The Line , The Machine and all the rest.