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Posted By: Walt Mathers on: 09/16/2011 11:20:00 EDT
Subject: Female Telegrapher or Cover Girl?

Message Detail:
Hallo JC,

Thanks for your comments to this thread.

I hope your "Well first off..." remark wasn't on account of what I had commented on a few postings back in this thread, e.g.

The photo auctioneer said:

"...but to our knowledge this is the first featuring a female operator?"

...and I came back with:

"There are actually numerous such images[,] but for everyone there is always THE 'first'."

The auctioneer may have seen his first female telegrapher (or a woman posing with a set of telegraph instruments) but I have encountered numerous such images.

I'd think that whether the female shown in this image is a telegraphist or not is not the main point. The instruments are most fascinating. I won't comment on them here but suffice to say, the image also shows a few more things I was hoping others would have picked up on:

1. the lady is not dressed for the job. She is wearing white instead of black sleeves

2. there are no writing implements or even a scrap of paper on the table - not that there's much room for such items

3. I can't see a visible string down on a line beneath the table where the winding drum of the register sits. This line would have supported the weight to power the clockwork mechanism of the register

It's a very nice image, albeit perhaps not as rare as the auctioneer would believe it to be.

Hope this helps,
Walt

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