Tag Archives: Typewriters

E.H.W. and the Telephone

Edward Harry William Meyerstein (1889 – 1952) was an English writer, poet and scholar. He wrote novels, poetry and short stories, also a Life Of Thomas Chatterton.His book Bollond and Other Stories is a posthumous work with an introduction by his friend Rowland Watson. It has this to say about E.H.W. and the telephone. Interesting to note that as late as the 1930s it was regarded with suspicion and of no possible use...

It was only at the approach of middle age, after an agony of self-examination, he submitted to the telephone and typewriter. When he adopted the telephone he wrote to R. N. Green-Armytage on November 19th, 1932:

"I am glad you think the installing of the telephone stimulates hope. I have not made a single call or received one, save from the telephone exchange on the day it was installed. There it stands like a revolver at my bed. It will be interesting to see what the bill for no calls will be. A publicity-seeker might make a good letter to The Times out of that. When my name is in the telephone book I shall await the experience of blackmail with some avidity - but at present there is silence, as of the dead."

It was another picture in the autumn of 1946 when I found him in bed, only slightly unwell. Lying on his back, his toothless mouth rapidly opening and shutting, a wicked twinkle in his eye, thoroughly happy, he said, pointing to the instrument: "That thing is a Godsend. I lie in bed, pull the strings and there is a constant procession up my stairs with gifts of food." Mark well the year - 1946!

As for the typewriter E.H.W. was known to make such a row on it while writing that disturbed neighbours used to knock on his door  to see if he was all right - "…he always bowed his tonsured head, with a polite answer:'Thank you for enquiring. I am in the throes of composition.' "