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Questions tagged [communication]

[language] as used to communicate between humans in writing or in speech. Also the development of the [technology] used for it. (Consider adding those tags as appropriate.)

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12
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3answers
3k views

Was it possible for a message from Paris to reach London within 48 hours in 1782?

I used to have a paperback copy of Diplomacy of the American Revolution by Samuel Flagg Bemis, but now I can't find it. I seem to recall that American diplomats in Paris in 1782 (Franklin, Adams, Jay) ...
2
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1answer
222 views

Are there examples of wrong / inaccurate translations that had a major impact?

Are there examples of wrong or inaccurate translations that had a major impact on the historic course of events (e.g. prevent a conflict from escalate)? And are there examples where the interpreter ...
0
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2answers
98 views

Revolutions of communication

Different from other revolutions which took place just once like Harari's cognitive revolution agricultural revolution unification of mankind scientific revolution revolutions of communication took ...
10
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2answers
407 views

Communication lag during the Age of Sail: what if enemy claimed that peace agreement was signed?

In the past due to the communication lag the hostilities could proceed long after peace agreements were signed. This was especially severe for the overseas territories and ships. I'm somewhat more ...
0
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1answer
50 views

Looking for a documentary on history of communication

I am looking for a documentary on the history of communication technologies. I found one particular documentary but I'm trying to figure out its title. The actual video is in French and appears to ...
7
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1answer
226 views

Telegraph availability in Russia around year 1875

Were there any telegraph lines available in late 19th century Russia (let's say year 1875), which would go deep into mainland Russia? I can find some mentions about Moscow telegraph station being ...
6
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2answers
364 views

What methods were used for onboard ship communication during WW2?

What methods/devices were used for communication onboard say a fighting ship during WW2? Did they have an intercom type system so different areas could communicate directly? Were there ship-wide ...
2
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1answer
161 views

How frequently did the KMT use telegrams to communicate; from where (roughly) and to whom?

This answer to the Chinese Language SE question Historical: How was Chinese written in telegrams and early computers? says (in part): Following is a telegram code "dictionary" used by Japan ...
8
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1answer
325 views

When was the first known international call between two heads of state or government?

A number of international phone connections were established a little before or just after 1900: Paris - Brussles phone line in 1886 England - France cross-Channel telephone cable in 1891 Britain - ...
18
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2answers
1k views

How long did it take to get news of the sighting of the Spanish Armada from Land’s End to London?

When the Armada was sighted, fire beacons carried the warning from Land’s End (western tip of Cornwall) to the rest of the country (this link has some details on how the system worked). "Armada ...
1
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2answers
269 views

Did the Iraqis really only use landlines during Desert Storm?

I remember reading somewhere -- I think it was in a CIA or NSA briefing paper -- that during Desert Storm, the Iraqis refused to communicate by radio because they were too scared of the U.S. ...
4
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0answers
447 views

In what period were signature rubrics used?

A rubric is a flourish embellishing a signature; it's both decorative and a security feature. At least with regard to European languages, signatures are still used but rubrics were, as far as I can ...
0
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1answer
237 views

Maximum speed of communication prior to Trans-Atlantic Cable? [closed]

It is for me hard to imagine that major events, like the end of a war, etc. could only be transmitted at the speed of a ship across of the Atlantic although we frequently read this. However, a ...
5
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1answer
320 views

What is the first known instance of gift-giving backfiring across cultures?

What is the first time known that two cultures, unfamiliar to each other, exchanged gifts in good faith, only to find that the other interpreted it differently? In other words, when did gifts first ...
3
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1answer
222 views

How did the primary means of communication between the British government in Delhi and UK change during WW2?

During WW2, India faced a lot of violence from the side of the Japanese. During the Burma campaign, the British would have (sometimes I suppose) asked the British government what was actually going or ...
0
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2answers
225 views

What was the first army to have a radio operator in combat units?

What was the first army that had a radio operator in combat units? By radio operator I mean someone who carried radio frequency communication equipment into combat and used it for communications ...
3
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1answer
119 views

Early 20th century naval communication

During the Discovery Expedition (1901-1904) to Antarctica, a pre-arranged message point was set up at Cape Crozier so that relief ships would be able to locate the expedition. What exactly was that ...
14
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3answers
1k views

How long did it take mail to get between Madrid and Mexico?

Spain administered its main colony Mexico from across the Atlantic. Ships crossed regularly between Cadiz or Seville and Vera Cruz (both capital cities are inland). At the time of Mexican independence,...
7
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3answers
6k views

How much did a telephone call cost in the USA around 1920?

I am looking for data on historic telephone call prices in the US between 1920 and 1930. What did it cost to make a call? I know that, back then different rates were charged based on the distance of ...
-1
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1answer
71 views

How Bell turn backed electricity fluctuations to sound? [closed]

Even though I could get how Alexander Graham Bell turned sound vibrations into electrical fluctuation as said in this article on Telephone history I couldn't get how he turned back electricity ...
3
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2answers
199 views

Early Telegraph Systems

My understanding of telegraphs is that you can only send one message at a time over one cable, if that is not accurate then this question is pointless. I am curious how telegraph communication was ...
5
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4answers
442 views

Was there ever an occurrence of diplomatic communication using food?

Is there an example in history where two leaders, or even just foreign travelers, who could not understand each other's spoken language, communicated by food? I am not talking about very specific ...
4
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1answer
259 views

What was the range of people's social lives like, before the technology for long distance communications developed?

We know a lot about some famous people from letters they have written and received. It seems that a lot more communication with people who were important in their lives was written instead of face-to-...
8
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3answers
770 views

What was the largest empire in terms of time of communication between its two ends?

What was the largest empire in human history in terms of the time required to deliver a message from one end of the empire to the other? How long was this time?
8
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2answers
4k views

How long would a letter take to arrive in England from America in 1890?

As part of my story, a letter is sent from England to America in 1890. I was wondering if there was a way to work out how long it would take and perhaps the cost of writing and sending letters.
9
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1answer
470 views

What was the first broadcast television programme?

Was it The Queen's Messenger or The Man with the Flower in his Mouth? IMDB claims that The Queen's Messenger was the first, but I've always understood it was The Man with the Flower in his Mouth. So ...
3
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2answers
299 views

What capabilities did Southern soldiers in the American Civil War have to get news about the North?

My great-grandfather was a Confederate cavalry soldier fighting under Johnson's remaining forces after Lee's surrender. In his diary, he writes on April 18, 1865, "Good news today. Lincoln has been ...
5
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1answer
794 views

Historically, how did people living in distant regions communicate?

For example, how did Marco Polo manage to communicate with the Chinese and the Mongolians during his travels? Did he learn Chinese? Did he manage to find a Chinese translator somehow? Was there a ...
13
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3answers
664 views

The Purpose of Mystery Object 40.9.11

In the summer of 1915, a wireless telegraph station in Sayville, Long Island owned by the German company Telefunken was caught sending covert commands to U-Boats patrolling the Atlantic Ocean. The ...
4
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3answers
1k views

Was the communication between Spitfire and other fighters' pilots encrypted?

If machines like SIGSALLY were occupying so much space like in the picture above, were the pilots' communication encrypted or somehow obscured in order to prevent the enemy from eavesdropping on the ...
18
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1answer
7k views

How did the Allies communicate during World War II?

I was wondering how the allied (America and England, since France was occupied by the Nazis) communicated securely with each other in 1943. I know that the SIGSALY existed, but I am most interested in ...
7
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2answers
305 views

Were new forms of communication and media usually condemned similar to how television/video games are now?

I'm sure anyone who is reading this has read at least an article, blog, or book condemning the consumption of television and video games as harmful to children, the behavior of teenagers, intelligence ...
1
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1answer
218 views

Which was more revolutionary for its time: Television or Radio? [closed]

In terms of broadcast technologies, which was seen as more revolutionary for its time: television or radio? How was each technology utilized in terms of its intended purpose and audience/users in its ...
11
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6answers
3k views

Did the German Enigma machine use multiple encryption keys?

The German Enigma machines are the key for German victories during the early years of World War II. When the Allies managed to capture few Enigma machines and decode then the face of war began to ...
20
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2answers
830 views

How did ancient empires account for slow propagation of information e.g. in their legal codes?

Mathematician Alain Connes cites a French legal rule that explicitly accounts for propagation of information at finite speeds substantially below the speed of light: There was a legal rule ...
5
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3answers
528 views

Printing - When did advertisements in colour became commonplace?

I wonder when colourful advertisements became commonplace in print (such as magazines or occasionally newspapers). I can imagine that colourful printing was far more expensive - so at what point did ...
9
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1answer
304 views

How did lower classes with aspirations to high social standing greet each other in the Paris of the 1630's?

I am running a game of En Garde over on the RPG Stack Exchange. For purposes of verisimilitude, we're wondering about station-specific greetings in Paris in the 1630's. What would be an appropriate ...
8
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1answer
166 views

Did all writing civilizations eventually produce cryptography?

I know some of the ancient civilizations did encrypt their messages. Did it happen everywhere where writing was known? If it didn't happen somewhere, what were the reasons?
13
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1answer
470 views

Castaways rescued by a message in a bottle?

Has there ever been a time when people were rescued by sending out a message in a bottle to drift across the sea? The "bottle" doesn't have to be an actual bottle. It could be a box, a cask, a ...
8
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1answer
970 views

During the American Civil War, could you send mail to someone across the border?

Before the Civil War, there was mail service between all the different states. During the war, could you still send a letter from, say New York to Georgia, or did the post office shut down services ...
6
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1answer
250 views

Are there any examples of people being able to predict the consequences of communication revolutions?

I often read predictions about future technologies from analysis companies like Gartner Group. These studies often strike me as awfully linear in their view on development. I would, therefore, like to ...
5
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1answer
295 views

Looking for a particular documentary about the history of long distance communication

I once watched a wonderful documentary about the history of long distance communication but have since forgotten its title, where I saw it, and how to find it again. I really only remember two pieces ...
5
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1answer
101 views

Quantitative comparison of transportation cost per kilometer over the centuries? [closed]

I am interested to see research on the development of transportation costs over the centuries. I realize the difficulty with researching this topic so I am interested in anything, which can enlighten ...
16
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1answer
2k views

How frequently were homing pigeons used in the World Wars?

It seems that the strategic weight of specially bred pigeons is much higher than I thought at first, based on the number of pigeons used and the effort to stop them. (In WW2 Germans even trained ...
32
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6answers
4k views

Did the communication lag become a problem for the ever expanding Roman Empire?

There is a dispute among historians over whether the Roman Empire collapsed because of its increasing size and system-imminent flaws which were not suited for this size. The bigger the territory, the ...
27
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4answers
9k views

How would slaves have addressed their masters in Ancient Greece?

In Ancient Rome, slaves addressed their masters as Dominus or Domina (male or female, respectively). Would the slaves (or servants) of Ancient Greece have used a similar title, or would they have ...