Technology, then and now

A recent book purchase was A Century of Punch (1956), a weighty collection of drawings from the humour magazine edited by RE Williams. While much of the comedy is now very dated, many of the illustrations and cartoons yield other pleasures, not least by being a fascinating snapshot of the times and their attitudes. Some of those attitudes remain with us, and the handful of drawings below struck me for their resonance with current discussions about the impact of new technology. But first, here’s a far-sighted prediction from 1878 (note: Ceylon is now Sri Lanka):


Paterfamilias (in Wilton Place): “Beatrice, come closer, I want to whisper.”
Beatrice (from Ceylon): “Yes, Papa Dear.”
Paterfamilias: “Who is that charming young lady playing on Charlie’s side?”
Beatrice: “She’s just come over from England, Papa. I’ll introduce you to her as soon as the game’s over.”

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