History of communications technology exhibition opens in Taipei

08/04/2020 10:22 PM
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Photo courtesy of Museum 207 on Dihua Street
Photo courtesy of Museum 207 on Dihua Street

Taipei, Aug. 4 (CNA) An exhibition on the history of communications technology in Taiwan over the past two centuries has opened in Taipei, showcasing hundreds of valuable antique exhibits, such as a submarine communications cable from the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912).

The "You Send, I Copy" exhibition opened at the privately-run Museum 207 on Dihua Street in Taipei's Datong District on Saturday, and will run through Jan. 17, 2021.

The museum is holding the exhibition in conjunction with Chunghwa Telecom Co., Taiwan's largest telecom services provider, including rare items from the company's collection and those of private collectors, such as pigeon post items, a form of sending messages that originated in the Tang Dynasty (618-907), and the Qing Dynasty submarine cable.

Also on display are a Morse code telegraph transmitter and a wooden dial telephone from the Japanese colonial era (1895-1945), telephones from the 1960s-1980s, and mobile phones which became popular in the late 1990s.

Must-see exhibits include a telephone exchange machine and a payphone booth, according to the organizers.

Photo courtesy of Museum 207 on Dihua Street
Photo courtesy of Museum 207 on Dihua Street

In addition to the exhibits, the museum also offers visitors a game named "Finding Mr. D," in which participants try to "escape from an enclosed space" by deciphering riddles made up of Morse code and flag signs.

During the game, players will be able to learn about the development of communications technology in Taiwan over the past two centuries, the organizers said.

Moreover, as technology has changed over the years, the terminology used has also evolved, said Taiwan History professor Tai Pao-tsun (戴寶村).

In Taiwan, people used to call the telephone "Ti Lu Feng (地律風)" a transliteration of the English word, Tai noted, while the verb for making a phone call has changed from dialing to swiping.

Taiwanese collector Chien I-hsiung (簡義雄) touts Taiwan as the Chinese province with the most advanced telecommunications technology in the Qing Dynasty.

"Foreign nationals often say the groundwork for the best telecommunications technology in the Qing Dynasty was laid in Taiwan, the most developed province in the Qing empire," he said.

"Taiwan had a wide range of communications facilities and tools," said Chien, who has served at the Directorate General of Telecommunications under the Ministry of Transportation and Communications.

The exhibition is free to members of the pubic, though playing the game costs NT$150 (US$5.1) per person.

(By Sabine Cheng and interns Grace Hu, Evelyn Yang, Meryl Kao and Lo Jing-wen)

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