The Kiss-a-Phone and Pegasus of the Air

February 23, 2016 (Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143, fbns@wayoflife.org)

The following is from Governor Bob Taylor’s Tales (1896), by Robert L. Taylor, Governor of Tennessee 1887-1891. He was writing tongue-in-cheek about the future of inventions.

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the_kiss_a_phone
What a wonderful workshop is the brain of man! Its noiseless machinery cuts, and carves, and moulds, in the imponderable material of ideas. It works its endless miracles through the brawny arm of labor, and the deft fingers of skill, and the world moves forward by its magic. Aladdin rubbed his lamp and the shadowy genii of fable performed impossible wonders. The dreamer of to-day rubs his fingers through his hair and the genii of his intellect work miracles which eclipse the most extravagant fantasies of the "Arabian Nights."

A dreamer saw the imprisoned vapor throw open the lid of a teakettle, and lo! a steam engine came puffing from his brain. And now many a huge monster of Corliss, beautiful as a vision of Archimedes and smooth in movement as a wheeling planet, sends its thrill of life and power through mammoth plants of humming machinery. The fiery courser of the steel-bound track shoots over hill and plain, like a mid-night meteor through the fields of heaven, outstripping the wind.
A dreamer carried about in his brain a great Leviathan. It was launched upon the billows, and like some colossal swan the palatial steamship now sweeps in majesty through the blue wastes of old ocean.

Six hundred years before Christ, some old Greek discovered electricity by rubbing a piece of amber, and unable to grasp the mystery, he called it soul. His discovery slept for more than two thousand years until it awoke in the dreams of Galvani, and Volta, and Benjamin Franklin. In the morning of the nineteenth century the sculptor and scientist, Morse, saw in his dreams, phantom lightnings leap across continents, and oceans, and felt the pulse of thunder beat as it came bounding over threads of iron that girdled the earth. In each throb he read a human thought. The electric telegraph emerged from his brain, like Minerva from the brow of Jove, and the world received a fresh baptism of light and glory.
In a few more years we will step over the threshold of the twentieth century. What greater wonders will the dreamers yet unfold? It may be that another magician, greater even than Edison, the "Wizard of Menloe Park," will rise up and coax the very laws of nature into easy compliance with his unheard-of dreams. I think he will construct an electric railway in the form of a huge tube, and call it the "electro-scoot," and passengers will enter it in New York and touch a button and arrive in San Francisco two hours before they started! I think a new discovery will be made by which the young man of the future may stand at his "kiss-o-phone" in New York, and kiss his sweetheart in Chicago with all the delightful sensations of the "aforesaid and the same." I think some Liebig will reduce foods to their last analyses, and by an ultimate concentration of their elements, will enable the man of the future to carry a year's provisions in his vest pocket. The sucking dude will store his rations in the head of his cane, and the commissary department of a whole army will consist of a mule and a pair of saddlebags. A train load of cabbage will be transported in a sardine box, and a thousand fat Texas cattle in an oyster can. Power will be condensed from a forty horse engine to a quart cup. Wagons will roll by the power in their axles, and the cushions of our buggies will cover the force that propels them. The armies of the future will fight with chain lightning, and the battlefield will become so hot and unhealthy that,
"He who fights and runs away Will never fight another day."
Some dreaming Icarus will perfect the flying machine, and upon the aluminum wings of the swift Pegasus of the air the light-hearted society girl will sail among the stars, and ... the rainbow will be converted into a Ferris wheel; all men will be bald headed; the women will run the Government--and then I think the end of time will be near at hand.
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