Making the Perfect Record: From Inscription to Impression in Early Magnetic Recording

Reeve Advertises and Educates

However, instrumental science needs its neutral devices. And in Reeve’s writing the telegraphone is one of them. In fact, throughout his scientific detective stories (including the eighty-two Kennedy stories published by Cosmopolitan in the 1910s), Reeve uses fiction as a space for disseminating information about new gadgets. LeRoy Panek (1990, 57) writes: “Arthur B. Reeve, of course, is the fountainhead of the American scientific story” Indeed, “science produced gadgets that made crook-catching easier,” and so “Reeve talks of the detectoscope, the telegraphone and the teleautograph” (57).43 By no surprise, then, Reeve’s writing is frequently didactic, comparable to, say, the drabness of a 1980s personal computer manual.

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