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Posted By: David Winfred Gaddy on: 09/15/2005 22:20:17 EDT
Subject: RE: Clothesline signal

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When we think of the time it takes to make a quilt--one quilt--and the dissemination of any info represented by that means, it doesn't suggest a very timely way to transmit info, does it? It would seem to me that, at best, it might incorporate a rough map intended for guidance to an illiterate person with little idea of topography or geography. Similarly, hanging out a pair of red flannels to indicate enemy active, or a white sheet to indicate all clear, isn't difficult to imagine, but to expand that much beyond a few "pre-concerted" signs (as illustrated by the examples quoted) seems to me overdrawn, as in the "system" conjured up by the phrase "clothesline telegraph." This is not to suggest that neither method was used, but that they are curiosities or isolated incidents, not to be compared with a dynamic system of timely communication such as that developed by Myer. Anything much beyond that seems to me to be somewhat inflated or romanticized.
Maybe I'm just grumpy tonight...I was re-reading a statement claiming that Beauregard invented the first "anti-aircraft" guns, because (since the cannon wouldn't elevate sufficiently to fire at balloons) he ordered that holes be dug and their trails be placed in the holes to raise the tubes. Yes, I can see that as "the first AA guns," but...gee whiz. We grin and move on.
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