by Kevin Alfred Strom
HERE IS A WELL-DONE film created by Western Electric in 1948 which gives a brief history of the vacuum tube from AT&T’s perspective. The short part near the end about the War to Save the Soviet, during which all this technology was used to blast Western Civilization to bits and enslave its people, was a bit depressing — but the revolutionary genius of DeForest and the men who stood on his shoulders is quite inspiring, as are the pictures of America back before the Third World invasion. This is the world I was born into.
I wonder if, had our civilization not been derailed by the fall of the Classical world and the subsequent Dark Ages, we would have had electronic amplifiers and sophisticated radio communications in 948 instead of 1948. After all, we knew the Earth was a sphere, and its diameter, in 500 BC, and we had steam engines in 50 AD — though this knowledge was subsequently lost when the crazies took over.