Precursors

1912 SGN 1552 - [J.H. Field seated with caligraph typewriter at Alexander Street branch of C.P.R. telegraph office] C Bradbury photo

SGN 1552 – James H. Field seated with caligraph typewriter at 99 Alexander Street branch of C.P.R. telegraph office, 1912, Charles Bradbury photo

Charles Bradbury (1871-1950) is the amateur photographer who made this image. Camera Workers has this to say about him: Originally from Great Britain, Bradbury emigrated to Canada from Borneo. A telegrapher, he photographed throughout the Vancouver region as well as along the Sunshine Coast. Peter Grant’s book on Vancouver Island postcard photographers notes that he worked at San Mateo Bay (Barkley Sound) beginning in December 1902, then supervised at Cape Lazo near Comox starting in 1908, and moved to another station on the Sechelt Peninsula (Sunshine Coast) in 1913. 

It seems likely that Bradbury knew James Field of the CPR telegraph office (which was located adjacent to where Columbia Street Pump Station on Alexander Street is today), probably through their common ‘day jobs’.

The typewriter and the telegraph behind it (and the glass insulator apparently serving as paperweight) on Field’s desk were early precursors of the communication technology revolution which was more fully realized later in the century with the dawn of personal computers, email, and internet.

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