Wednesday, 26 October 2011

das telefon sagt du

Germany is celebrating the 150th anniversary of the telephone, which predates Alexander Graham Bell's famous transmission, "Mister Watson, come here--I want to see you," by a full fifteen years with Johann Phillip Reis' cryptic and surreal message via switching, galvanic wire, "The horse does not eat cucumber salad," (Das Pferd frisst keinen Gurkensalat). Reis made up this phrase on the spot during his demonstration in Friedrichsdorf by Frankfurt am Main in 1861 to prove that his first call was real and not rehearsed. Reis' experiment of course was built on the work of others that came before and in turn, the idea was improved and realized as a two-way communication device by Bell. Reis' other pioneering work included an early prototype of what would become inline roller-skates and theoretical inquiries into the possibility photovoltaic cells.