Today, the telephone – in the form of pocket-sized smartphones – is an essential part of most people’s every day life. Looking at one, it is hard to imagine how far the technology behind this means of long-distance communication has come since its birth in the 1870s.
Of course, we all know something of the history of the telephone, with names like Alexander Graham Bell and Elisha Grey (if not poor Antonio Meucci) being familiar to many of us, if only as a result of our school days. But what is it’s real story? How did the early telephones work? what have been the various eras of the ‘phone?
Denzel Coy brilliantly and charmingly answers these questions in Second Life through his Telephone Museum. Within it, visitors can explore the telephone’s entire history, from its beginnings with the unfortunate Meucci, the unlucky Grey and the fortunate Bell, through the first box systems, to candlesticks and on to the rotary era – all the way up to the modern cellphone.
This is a fabulous environment for anyone interested in history or technology as well as the telephone. On displays are around 50 exquisitely crafted telephones from the last 140 years, made by a number of Second Life creators – Raya Jonson, Jin Zhu, Zaida Gearbox, Neotoy Story and Plato Novo, to name but a handful, as well as Denzel himself. Alongside of them are information boards complete with audio playback capabilities, allowing visitors to read or hear the information they contain, together with reproductions of adverts for telephones from the different eras, and more.
The displays are laid out around two levels, with the lower progressing from information on Meucci, Grey and Bell, through to the arrival of rotary dial telephones in the 1920s. These displays are all offered around a model of the very first telephone device from 1876. From here, visitors can progress to the mezzanine level, and the history of the telephone from the 1950s through to the present day, with a brief detour into the world of the military field telephone.
As well as the audio capabilities, the museum includes a number of interactive elements – including the display case of the aforementioned 1876 device being alarmed against theft! There is also a gacha station, where visitors can obtain a number of items, including some rare models of the ‘phones on display and the Telephone Museum Ultimate Guide. There is also a trivia competition on the main floor, where people can test the knowledge they’ve gained during their visit.
This is a superb exhibit to visit, perfectly presented in an environment designed by Denzel. Informative and educational, it is also entertaining and offers another look at just how exquisite mesh models can be in Second Life.
- The Telephone Museum (Dent, rated: Moderate)