Tools of communication have transformed American society time and again over the past two centuries. The Museum has preserved many instruments of these changes, from printing presses to personal digital assistants.
The collections include hundreds of artifacts from the printing trade and related fields, including papermaking equipment, wood and metal type collections, bookbinding tools, and typesetting machines. Benjamin Franklin is said to have used one of the printing presses in the collection in 1726.
More than 7,000 objects chart the evolution of electronic communications, including the original telegraph of Samuel Morse and Alexander Graham Bell's early telephones. Radios, televisions, tape recorders, and the tools of the computer age are part of the collections, along with wireless phones and a satellite tracking system.
"Communications - Overview" showing 1 items.
- Abbé Jean-Claude-Richard de Saint-Non made this aquatint from a drawing by Jean Honoré Fragonard (1732–1806) of an altarpiece by Guercino in the church of San Gregorio in Bologna, Italy. While visiting Rome, Saint-Non invited Fragonard, then at the French Academy in Rome, to accompany him on a tour of northern Italy to visit sites of historic and artistic interest. Fragonard made more than 300 sketches, some of which Saint-Non used as a basis for prints that were issued in Paris between 1770 and 1774.
- Saint-Non, a wealthy amateur etcher assisted by Jean-Baptiste Delafosse, a professional printmaker, invented a successful aquatint process in 1765. In this process, the artist dusts rosin powder onto a copper plate, which is heated to adhere the rosin. The plate is then etched in acid to create a rough surface that captures the ink to provide tonal areas in the print.
- The painting by Guercino (1591–1666) shows Saint William dressed in armor putting on a monk’s habit before Saint Benedict of Aniane. Saint William, formerly the Duke of Aquitaine, had fought bravely against Moorish invaders in Spain and France, but in 806 he retired from the world to become a monk in the monastery he had founded.
- Currently not on view
- Date made
- original artist
- Fragonard, Jean-Honoré
- graphic artist
- Saint-Non, Jean Claude Richard de
- original artist
- Guercino, Giovanni Francesco Barbieri
- ID Number
- catalog number
- accession number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center