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Telegraph Messenger Boys: Crossing the Borders between History of Technology and Human Geography

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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.
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Keywords: communications technology; historical geography; labor geography; telegraph network; urban geography

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2003-05-01

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