Talk:William Henry Preece
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If you google for him on the web, you'll find plenty of alleged quotes along the lines of him saying to Graham Bell, who had just presented his telephone: "No, Sir. The Americans have need of the telephone, but we do not. We have plenty of messenger boys."
I generally believe that only a fraction of the quotes spread via the web are actually true, as sources are hardly given, and people are forwarding them again and again without ever doubting their validity. This one seems to be particularly suspect, as I can't see how Preece could be so sceptical about the telephone although he spent most of his life researching in telegraphy.
Can anyone reliably falsify or verify whether Preece really said so? Did he even ever meet Bell? I can only find evidence of meetings with Marconi. -- 18.104.22.168 14:30, 15 August 2006 (UTC)
The quote you reference seems to be a paraphrase. Other references contain a much longer quote. The 1882 edition of Popular Science provides this quote (though does not refer to Preece by name). Also from UK TELEPHONE HISTORY
This year, Mr. William Preece (later Sir William Preece) of the Post Office Engineering staff, when asked whether the telephone would be an instrument of the future which would be largely taken up by the public, replied “I think not”. Questioned further he said “I fancy the descriptions we get of its use in America are a little exaggerated; but there are conditions in America which necessitate the use of instruments of this kind more than here. Here we have a superabundance of messengers, errand boys, and things of that kind.” martyvis (talk) 11:47, 25 October 2009 (UTC)
Through some further research of the longer quote from Popular Science, it would appear Preece is being quoted from the 1879 Select Committee hearings on the lighting by electricity which is available in its entirety via | Google books (USA) On page 69 of this report, Preece is giving evidence before the committee on 2 May 1879. On line 539 he is asked whether he think the telephone will be of popular use by the public. On line 579 he replies: "I think not." When questioned further on line 580 about whether it might take off as it had in America, he says: "I fancy that the descriptions we get of its use in America are a little exaggerated; but there are conditions in America which necessitate the use of instruments of this kind more there than here. Here we have a superabundance of messengers, errand boys, and things of that kind. ..." — Preceding unsigned comment added by 22.214.171.124 (talk) 01:11, 10 March 2012 (UTC)
I think someone should mention that he invented the pipe and valve analogy of electrical current, the predecessor of the modern notion of internet pipes and tubes. 126.96.36.199 (talk) 23:20, 9 December 2013 (UTC)
"In 1889 Preece assembled a group of men at Coniston Water in the Lake District in Cumberland and succeeded in transmitting and receiving Morse radio signals over a distance of about 1 mile (1.6 km) across water."
Are we sure of this? I read the referenced article and it suggested that, although wireless telegraphy was accomplished, it may not have been radio telegraphy. It sounded to me it could possibly be an aquatic equivalent of ground transmission. 188.8.131.52 (talk) 00:23, 30 May 2017 (UTC)
Yes, it's wireless. See Preece's own article, https://www.google.com/books/edition/The_Journal_of_Gas_Lighting_Water_Supply/_RxHAQAAMAAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1&dq=electro-magnetic+light&pg=PA183 — Preceding unsigned comment added by 184.108.40.206 (talk) 05:44, 22 July 2020 (UTC)