Cartoon perils of the phone

Black and white cartoon: Alfred Leete - the artist behind the 'Kitchener poster - shows this woman yelling into the earpiece of an Edwardian wall phone

Alfred Leete – the artist behind the ‘Kitchener poster – shows this woman yelling into the earpiece of an Edwardian wall phone

Thomas Maybank shows a drunk trying to call using a gong stick. He drew for Punch and did Oojah the elephant series in the Daily Sketch in the 1920s

Thomas Maybank shows a drunk trying to call using a gong stick. He drew for Punch and did Oojah the elephant series in the Daily Sketch in the 1920s

I bumped into a friend a while back who showed me her new mobile phone. Searching the web… email… using it as a torch, she had it mastered – but not receiving calls, where she had failed miserably!

Yet problems with new technology and gadgets are no new thing – who hasn’t done battle with a video recorder? These cartoons from Royal magazine demonstrate the sort of issues that my pal and I would have faced a century ago.

Alfred Leete, Thomas Maybank and Starr Wood were among the black-and-white artists who contributed to this article from 1913 in the Royal magazine.

And no doubt many recipients of new phones this Christmas will be facing similar problems once they’ve got the device charged up.

Starr Wood has been kept waiting on the line once too often!

Starr Wood has been kept waiting on the line once too often!

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