This 1919 cartoon accurately predicted mobile phones at concerts over 100 years ago...
16 November 2022, 16:48 | Updated: 16 November 2022, 17:14
A cartoon in the Daily Mirror from the early 20th century almost unbelievably anticipates the sound of ‘pocket telephones’ in the concert hall.
We’ve all experienced it. Sitting in a concert hall or theatre, the audience is hushed, and the music at a beautiful pianissimo...
And then *ding ding ding*, a mobile phone starts to sound of digital beeps or that all-too-familiar marimba ring tone.
But it turns out that English illustrator William Haselden (1872–1953) predicted it all, a whole century earlier, in a cartoon titled When we all have pocket telephones, published in The Daily Mirror in 1919 when the telephone was a very new invention.
It asked: what if we had a portable, pocket or *mobile* telephone with us in our day to day? And how might they interrupt concerts? It’s all quite prophetic...
The cartoon was placed alongside other situations where this ‘pocket telephone’ might prove a personal annoyance and social nuisance: whether it be on a busy train, when you’re in a hurry, with babies, or even when you’re at the alter.
Take a look at the full set of the remarkable prophecy below:
Haselden drew political cartoons and caricatures, but became most famous for pieces of social commentary on middle-class fashions and manners. His illustrations, like this one, were often drawn over a number of panels, for which he has been viewed as the father of British strip cartoon.
We wonder what he might have thought if he was instantly transported to a concert 100 years into the future, and hearing the now omnipresent announcement before performers take to the stage: “Could we please ask you all to set your phones to silent”.