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Year 46 – 1906: The Romance of Modern Electricity: Describing in Non-Technical Language What is Known about Electricity and Many of its Interesting Applications by Charles R. Gibson

Published: London, 1906

“The present generation, having grown up amidst all these and other wonders, has almost ceased to marvel at them.”  The author here is speaking of the wonders of electricity, but the same sentiment has been expressed about the generations that grew up with radio, with talking pictures, with television, and with computers.  Although electricity was still in its relative infancy in 1906, the technology was already making startling improvements in everyday life.  As Gibson notes, cities could be illuminated, friends could speak across great distances, and motors could be manufactured to run any number of appliances.

It’s easy to see that this is a popular book directed at the interested layman, and just as easy to assume that such a volume would generate little interest among the technologically advanced students of MIT. Nonetheless, this copy bears evidence that at least one such student blended specialized studies with a taste for the popular: laid into the book by an anonymous reader is a scrap of paper bearing handwritten technical notes and diagrams.

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