Punch,  35 (1858), 165.

The Universality of Electricity



News-Commentary, Drollery


Electricity, Music, Instruments, Surgery, Medical Treatment, Technology, Domestic Economy, Futurism

    Praising electricity for 'taking the circuit of the entire globe' and talking 'without being heard' (references to the Atlantic telegraph), announces two 'recent marvels of electricity'—'piano-forte playing, and tooth-extraction'—which, 'according to your manipulation', shows that electricity 'becomes either an instrument of pleasure, or an instrument of torture'. Discusses the successful attempt by Léon Humar to make five pianos play simultaneously by means of electricity. Anticipates the possibility of several more pianos being played at once by electricity, but does not look forward to the sound created by multiple piano-playing, 'regarding one piano at a time' to be 'quite enough'. Thinks the benefits of electrical tooth-drawing balance the evils of electric piano-playing. Wonders 'what will not electricity do next?' and anticipates the day when electricity 'will cook our dinner, sew on our buttons, write our letters, make our clothes, whip our children, black our boots, shave our stubbly chins, and even help us with a pinch of snuff', and help us into bed. However, does not think electricity will 'help us pay our Income-Tax'.

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