History of Communication. Callum Latta. Use of Art to Communicate (100,000 BC).
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Since about 70,000 BP we’ve communicated with art. The Upper Paeleolithic era (70,000 BP - c. 10,000 BP) is when much of the painted art was done. Most of these paintings and drawings are of animals and some people. It’s thought that the artists believed the paintings would lure animals to their caves or have other mystical qualities. They also may have been part of rituals.
It varied from site-to-site, who did the painting, but there has been some evidence, such as handprints, which show that women did some of it, and even children.
The technology the people used is hard to track because they would be destroyed overtime (like branches cut at the end for brushes, or pieces of animal hair wrapped around twigs). Although we don’t know about the brushes, the pigments are thought to have been mixed up and spit from the mouths of the painters.
The biggest piece of technology that needed to be perfected wasn’t actually anything physical, but the use of perception. The people making these paintings needed to be perceptive and observe their surroundings well enough to recreate the animals and/or people they saw. There’s even examples of these people trying to make 3D images! Although it seems like a given today, the use of perception and observation to recreate images at one point was a new art, which needed to be practiced and perfected to get the results that the paintings gave, and allowed people to communicate more efficiently and clearly.
The printing press was invented by Johannes Gutenberg. It mainly utilizes a form of ‘movable type,’ which was pioneered by Bi Sheng, around the year 1040. Without this previous technological advancement by Sheng, the Gutenberg press could never have been made.
The printing press works by arranging movable letters, little pieces of metal that are like a stamp, into the mirror image of the text they want to replicate. This was usually done by women, and is where the saying ‘mind your P’s and Q’s’ comes from, because the small letters P and Q looked very similar, especially when they were dealing in the mirror image of them.
The printing press also dealt with movable type that wasn’t actually type, but ads. After the press was invented, newspapers began to come about and as a result there needed to be ad space made. This ad space could be filled by businesses who would order engravings, mirror images like the letters, of their business’s logo or picture. This relied on the previous inventions of carving and casting metal, as did the actual letters of the Gutenberg Press.
This advancement was a major one for the world, inciting changes in the way we communicated, allowing books to be wildly available, which included the bible, allowing for people like Martin Luther and Joseph Howe to create their own revolutions and changes to society.
The first photograph ever taken was done by a man named Joseph Niépce. It was done out of necessity, Niépce was unable to trace images, as was the custom in his time, from the camera obscura. Because of this, Niépce was forced to invent something which immediately transferred the picture to a surface.
Niépce began using lithography, a method of capturing engravings in stone. This lead him to the camera obscura, but he was still unable to trace the images. As a result, he modified the camera obscura, by placing a pewter sheet underneath it, then coating that with dissolved bitumen.
This combination of bitumen on pewter captured the first photograph ever taken. Although this was invented out of necessity, it wouldn’t have been possible without the preceeding technologies such as the lithograph or camera obscura, as well as some basic knowledge of chemicals, which is what Niépce ultimately used to get his final product.
The first television was patented by Paul Nipkow, a German university student who utilized a photograph being displayed by a spinning fan with a series of holes in it. At the time this was incredibly impractical, but later with the developments of vacuum tubes, this method was improved upon and used in some of the first TVs.
In London, 1925, John Logie Baird expanded on this rotating disk technology to create the first moving pictures on it. He created moving silhouettes in 1925, and in 1926 he was able to have moving monochromatic images. His disk had a 30 line resolution, just enough to be able to outline a human face.
Some of the shoulders that Baird stood on included both the German student as well as a man named Arthur Korn. Korn created the first signal-condition circuits for image transmission. Without this development, it’s said that Baird may never had had his success. At the time of their creation, these circuits could only transfer still images over telephone or even wirelessly over countries and oceans. They were a major help to Baird.
HBO was created by a man named Charles Dolan. Previously he had created the cable company Sterling Manhattan Cable, the first cable company to run their wires underground, rather than on telephones. Time-Life would go on to purchase 20 percent of this company, acting as a crucial support for when Dolan decided to created HBO.
Dolan was in France during a family vacation when he came up with the idea of a subscription-based network. When he returned to the states he pitched the idea to Time-Life, and they backed him. Although Dolan was suggesting at the time to use satellites to relay the broadcast, the technology was still new, so Time-Life didn’t go for it. For the next year HBO struggle to turn a profit, and during this time Time-Life acquired more and more of the company, eventually firing Dolan.
After Dolan was let-go, Time-Life finally decided to broadcast via satellite, allowing for a larger audience. As they did this their audience slowly grew to the point where they were turning a minor profit. This growth continued to the large audience that they have today.
There was a lot of technology involved in creating HBO. Although HBO innovates a lot, it mainly modifies the existing technology, for example broadcasting from a satellite rather than a tower and having an optional, subscription-based cable company, which grew on the existing idea of television.