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Smoke tower

J.A.B. Bergsträsser. Synthematographik, 1785

The theme of communication runs strongly throughout the Vail Collection. George Edward Dering himself held patents related to telegraphy. Theodore Vail was the first president of American Telephone & Telegraph, and was also the cousin of Alfred Vail, one of the most important names in early practical telegraphy. In a different vein, we can trace the links of the “scientific conversation” – a very particular brand of communication – through the many inscribed presentation copies of offprints in the collection.

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