Telegraph Messenger Boys: Crossing the Borders between History of Technology and Human Geography
Historians of telegraphy have traditionally focused on the system-builders who invented wire communications technologies and incorporated them into profit-making enterprises. Geographers of communications have traditionally traced the changes that the telegraph network wrought on the rank-size of cities and the speed of business. Both have ignored the history of the telegraph messenger boys and the “lived geography” of the telegraph network. This article summarizes a study of telegraph messengers as both active components of technological systems and laboring agents within produced urban spaces, bringing together the fields of both history of technology and human geography.