JAMA 100 Years Ago Section Editor: Jennifer Reiling, Assistant Editor.
In one of Mr. H. G. Wells' ingenious fancies he shows up a future condition of the world's progress—a very unpleasant one it must be said—in which books have had their day and literature is perpetuated by phonographs, or what are called the “babbling machines.” While no one would wish to realize the future he portrays, it is easy to see how great an advantage to a certain limited class of unfortunates would be the application of this particular feature. This point is specially suggested by Dr. George M. Gould in a communication to Science, in which he shows how large a world it would open up to the blind were this plan adopted, especially with the more recent improvements made in the so-called telegraphone of Poulssen, which is said to be far superior to the modern phonographs and graphophones now in common use. The suggestion is still too recent to have been thoroughly carried out, but it will be strange if we do not see some fruits of it in the adoption of such methods in the education of the blind in public institutions. The method necessarily has its limitations, and it may not entirely supplant, as he seems to think it will, the raised or embossed letter method used in books for the blind. But in any case it seems to indicate greatly enlarged possibilities of pleasure and profit for a deeply affected class.
ERA OF THE PHONOGRAPH.. JAMA. 2006;295(11):1312. doi:10.1001/jama.295.11.1312-b