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"We are all repositories for genetically-encoded information that we're all spreading back and forth amongst each other, all the time. We're just lousy with information."
- Neal Stephenson

Aerial Telegraph  
  Communication between individuals in spacesuits.  

How is it possible for people encased in individual spacesuits to converse with each other? The ingenious Mr. Edison provides the solution.

While it was the intention to remain as much as possible within the cars, yet since it was probable that necessity would arise for occasionally quitting the interior of the electrical ships, Mr. Edison had provided for this emergency by inventing an air-tight dress constructed somewhat after the manner of a diver's suit, but of much lighter material. Each ship was provided with several of these suits, by wearing which one could venture outside the car even when it was beyond the atmosphere of the earth...

The necessity of some contrivance by means of which we should be enabled to converse with one another when on the outside of the cars in open space, or when in an airless world, like the moon, where there would be no medium by which the waves of sound could be conveyed as they are in the atmosphere of the earth, had been foreseen by our great inventor, and he had not found it difficult to contrive suitable devices for meeting the emergency.

Inside the headpiece of each of the electrical suits was the mouthpiece of a telephone. This was connected with a wire which, when not in use, could be conveniently coiled upon the arm of the wearer. Near the ears, similarly connected with wires, were telephonic receivers.

An Aerial Telegraph.

When two persons wearing the air-tight dresses wished to converse with one another it was only necessary for them to connect themselves by the wires, and conversation could then be easily carried on.

From Edison's Conquest of Mars, by Garrett P. Serviss.
Published by New York Evening Journal in 1898
Additional resources -

This delightfully retro solution is based on the recent (from the point of view of the writer) introduction of telephone central exchanges, in which operators could connect two distant telephones with switchboards.

The first telephone switchboard was put into use in New Haven, Connecticut in 1878. Built from carriage bolts, handles from teapot lids and bustle wire, it could handle two simultaneous conversations.

Plug boards manned by operators characterized later telephone exchanges. Subscriber lines terminated in bantam jacks lined up in banks; when a distant caller picked up their phone, a light near the jack came on, the operator inquired as to the number needed, and then plugged a connecting wire into the subscriber's line to complete the call.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Edison's Conquest of Mars
  More Ideas and Technology by Garrett P. Serviss
  Tech news articles related to Edison's Conquest of Mars
  Tech news articles related to works by Garrett P. Serviss

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