Communication

In a seminal but forgotten 1962 essay, published by American Heritage more than half a century ago, Sir Arthur Clarke predicted a revolution in communications would bring electronic mail, telecommuting, the Internet, and inexpensive long distance calls.

Today, Arthur Clarke is remembered as a writer of science fiction and the screenplay for the 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey. But Clarke was also an influential futurist and one of the first writers to suggest that rockets could be used for communication, not just military purposes. Read more >>

The telegraph was an even more dramatic innovation in its day than the Internet

On May 24, 1844, Professor Samuel F. B. Morse, seated in the chambers of the U.S. Read more >>

Though it appears to have sprung up overnight, the inspiration of free-spirited hackers, it in fact was born in Defense Department Cold War projects of the 1950s

The Internet seems so now, so happening, so information age, that its Gen-X devotees might find the uncool circumstances of its birth hard to grasp. Read more >>

The urge to move documents as fast as possible has always been a national pre-occupation, because it has always been a necessity. Fax and Federal Express are just the latest among many innovations for getting the message across.

Reaching out and touching someone hasn’t always been easy—especially if it was necessary to hand that person something in the process. Read more >>

The story of AT&T from its origins in Bell’s first local call to last year’s divestiture. Hail and good-bye.

The history of telephone communications in the United States is also, in large measure, the history of an extraordinary business organization. Read more >>

The U.S. Post Office, 1775-1974

Clara Boule of Lewiston, Montana, recently heard from her mother. This is less than startling, since her mother, Mrs. Elmer Lazure, lives at Belt, only eighty miles from Lewiston. But—the letter was postmarked November 17, 1969 Read more >>

THE MAKING AND BREAKING OF CODES AND CIPHERS HAS PLAYED AN EXCITING AND OFTEN CRUCIAL PART IN AMERICAN HISTORY

By choice, cryptographers are an unsung and anonymous lot. In war and peace they labor in their black chambers, behind barred doors, dispatching sheets of secret symbols and reading encoded messages from the innermost councils of foreign governments. Read more >>