You’ve been granted free access to this subscribers only article.
Reminiscing: Remember tin-can telephones?
We made tin-can telephones when I was a kid growing up on the farm at Kasper. We never had a telephone. It was such a novelty to us, because the only phone we ever saw was the one that was in Kasper School hanging on the wall. I never used it. I never even talked on a phone till I was grown and graduated from Poth and moved off the farm to San Antonio, and had my own apartment! That was when I was 18 years old.
So, as kids we used to play “Telephone” (which was among other games we played, which were always played outdoors, like “Cowboys and Indians,” “Hide and Seek,” “Kick-the-can,” “Annie Over,” “School,” and “House”).
We thought we invented the tin-can phones, which we made by getting two empty tin cans with the lid cut off of one end, and punching a hole with a nail in the other end and tying a long string in the hole, and with the other end tied to another tin can. You stretched the string tight in a straight line and held the open end to your ear, while the other person talked in the tin can at the other end of the string. It worked. It was like magic.
But then I read up on it the other day. It seems sound waves are created as the air vibrates in response to speech or other sounds. The ear collects these sound waves and converts them into nerve impulses, which the brain interprets as sound. When the string is pulled taut and someone speaks into one of the cans, its bottom acts as a diaphragm converting the sound waves into longitudinal vibrations, which vary the tension of the string. These variations in tension set up waves in the string which travel to the other can, causing its bottom to vibrate in a similar manner as the first can, thus recreating the sound.
And I always thought it was magic! You could “play like” you had a telephone. We played “house” where we lined our “house” and rooms with sticks and stones, and put tin cans with boards across them for tables and chairs, and that was our houses. Then we would “call” our neighbors on our phones. What ingenuity that was!
But maybe we got the idea from a book at school or the library! I always thought we invented those tin-can telephones!! So, now all the kiddos have to do is call their friend on their cell phones, or text them on cell phones, and that includes young children 8 years old or even younger! They even have their own cell phones!
I remember when it was a big deal when some parents began to buy their children pagers! That was back in the 1990s. My kids never even had a phone in their room. Everyone had to use the phone on the wall in the kitchen! Everyone! Mom and Dad and four kids ... then we decided to put another phone on the wall in the hall by the bedrooms. Oh, the times I would trip over a cord of a phone stretched into one bedroom or Eddie tripped over it going to the bathroom. Oh, he would get so mad! He threatened to take the hall phone out! If they used the phone, they could sit on the floor in the hall and talk if they wanted to ... or talk on the phone in the kitchen. But then everyone would hear what they were saying. There “was a method in our madness,” we used to say!
I guess I am too old-fashioned. I don’t like a lot of the new technology. Too much information is not good sometimes. I think it’s time we go back to “tin-can telephones” or even one telephone in the whole household!!
Lois Zook Wauson is the oldest of eight children who grew up on a farm in Wilson County in the mid-20th century. After many years living in other parts of Texas, she now lives and writes in Floresville. Her two books are available from the Wilson County News office. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your Opinions and Comments
Be the first to comment on this story!
You must be logged in to post a comment.
South Texas Living Archives
Benefit for animal shelter is Aug. 1 (July 29, 2015)
Cestohowa Altar Society ladies celebrate 60 years of service (July 29, 2015)
Church youth to hold car wash (July 29, 2015)
Don’t miss Kosciusko Picnic this Sunday (July 29, 2015)
Free movie Friday in Poth (July 29, 2015)
Historical marker denotes former school site (July 29, 2015)
Legion Auxiliary garage sale Aug. 1 (July 29, 2015)
Life in the Camp Ranch community (July 29, 2015)
Luciano Pacheco – the sole Tejano survivor of the Alamo (July 29, 2015)
Opry helps fund historical markers (July 29, 2015)
Popeye beach pail (July 29, 2015)
See a free flick in Elmendorf (July 29, 2015)
Stuff the bus in Stockdale (July 29, 2015)
Summer program ends at Falls City library (July 29, 2015)
WCRSP delivers children’s books to schools (July 29, 2015)
Balance classes start July 27 (July 22, 2015)
Be a high roller in Floresville (July 22, 2015)
Bobble-head Bozo (July 22, 2015)
Cool down with free snow cones (July 22, 2015)
Copper-pot craftsmanship — CINCO Vodka (July 22, 2015)
Marion Sausage Supper is Aug. 1 (July 22, 2015)
Mu Chi members attend state convention (July 22, 2015)
Opry lineup is sure to satisfy (July 22, 2015)
Save the date for Kody Fest Aug. 8 (July 22, 2015)
Shop ‘Trinkets and Treasures’ (July 22, 2015)
SSCA seeks donations for rummage sale (July 22, 2015)
Start two-stepping at FUMC (July 22, 2015)
Texas sales-tax holiday (July 22, 2015)
The Landing offers help for teens (July 22, 2015)
What a difference an ‘A’ makes! (July 22, 2015)
Browse, learn, shop at Home and Garden Show (July 15, 2015)
Celebrate Czech Day in Jourdanton (July 15, 2015)
Daughters of the Republic installs officers (July 15, 2015)
Enjoy St. Anthony church fest (July 15, 2015)
Experience ‘The Hobbit’ under the stars (July 15, 2015)
Free Movies at the Park in Poth (July 15, 2015)
Learn to compost with worms (July 15, 2015)
Legion Auxiliary plans garage sale (July 15, 2015)
Library happenings (July 15, 2015)
Mystery blanket sparks search (July 15, 2015)
Night In Old Fredericksburg is July 18 (July 15, 2015)
Plan now for Beaver Roundup (July 15, 2015)
Teddy bears, pottery (July 15, 2015)
The bridges of Wilson County (July 15, 2015)
‘Atomic tourists’ converge on Trinity Site ahead of 70th anniversary (July 15, 2015)
Behind the lens: Cover photo (July 8, 2015)
Bobby Flores Birthday Bash is July 11 (July 8, 2015)
Early settlers of Wilson County (July 8, 2015)
Enjoy ‘Big Hero 6’ at Movie Day (July 8, 2015)
Enjoy ‘Cool Tunes’ in Brenham (July 8, 2015)
Family violence shelter seeks volunteers (July 8, 2015)
Family weekend fun in Adkins (July 8, 2015)
FHS Reunion is July 25 (July 8, 2015)
Fishing lures (July 8, 2015)
Give blood at Sacred Heart Church (July 8, 2015)
Hamilton earns rank of captain (July 8, 2015)
Memorial hog hunt a hit! (July 8, 2015)
Save the date for Home and Garden Show (July 8, 2015)
See comedians in China Grove (July 8, 2015)
‘Alabama’ to invade K-Town (July 8, 2015)
‘Dying’ brings broadcaster back to life (July 8, 2015)
Bible study in Verdi (July 1, 2015)
Buses, pickup trucks, automobiles, and walking (July 1, 2015)
Davy Crockett, Depression glass (July 1, 2015)
Dog shows start July 8 (July 1, 2015)
Enjoy Fourth of July parade, concert in Seguin (July 1, 2015)
Enjoy Sunday Dances all month (July 1, 2015)
Free July 4 concerts in SA (July 1, 2015)
Free music, fireworks in Brenham (July 1, 2015)
Ice cream makers, tasters needed (July 1, 2015)
Jack's Cafe adds Sports Room and patio (July 1, 2015)
July is for grape stomping (July 1, 2015)
Look who's flying solo! (July 1, 2015)
Memories fly following balloon stories (July 1, 2015)
Register for state-wide Chili Cook-off (July 1, 2015)
Remembering my first haircut (July 1, 2015)
Savor: Summer drinks with calories and exercise equivalents (July 1, 2015)
South Texas Gardener reveals 'mystery plants' (July 1, 2015)
The Gathering Music Show (July 1, 2015)