About the collection
The Bureau strove to provide a good balance of material in the Journal: articles on technical, administrative, official, legislative and legal matters alternated with summaries of meetings of bodies working in the telecommunications field such as the International Broadcasting Union (IBU), the International Commission for Air Navigation (ICAN), and the International Meteorological Organization (IMO). The Journal became the major source of information about the activities of the Union by publishing the outcomes of the Union’s telegraph and radiotelegraph conferences and the meetings of the International Consultative Committees (CCIF, CCIT, CCIR).
One of the main purposes of the Journal – continuing to ITU News today – was reporting on technological advances. Some of those innovations, however, have become curiosities with the passage of time.
In 1901, for example, the Journal described the “telephonograph,” an early version of a telephone answering machine that recorded messages on wax cylinders. And when you went out, “instead of having to talk to your butler or your office boy,” you could record an outgoing message for callers.
In 1938, readers were told that the “radio newspaper” was becoming common in homes and businesses in the United States. With a special attachment, you could convert an ordinary radio into a printing-press capable of receiving news bulletins and pictures transmitted over the air and printing them on a continuous sheet of paper that unwound from a roll.