Chinese mobile phones in the 1920s – magic lantern slide

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For me, mobile phones (cells to my American readers) are nothing short of miraculous. The fact that I can talk to my daughter while she’s driving on an American freeway when I’m on a British motorway, without a taught piece of string between the two devices, is amazing.

Most people believe that smart phones are a recent invention. This is, of course, nonsense, as the Chinese had them one hundred years ago but kept the technology a closely guarded secret. Where’s the proof I hear you ask? In the photo above is my answer. This magic lantern slide was made in the 1920s and I don’t think there’s any doubt that the gentleman in the foreground is on his mobile. He has that ‘Wow, this photo of the bowl of rice that my mother-in-law’s, sister’s, neighbour is having for his tea is fascinating. I must share it with my friends immediately’ look on his face that we all know so well. Little did he know that a few seconds after the photo was taken, he would step into the road in front of a speeding rickshaw and his own cells would be permanently rearranged. Anyway, the camera can’t lie, can it! 

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