News from America, 130-year old

April 1, 2010

There was a beautiful Azerbaijani newspaper Akinchi (The Cultivator) published between 1875 and 1877. So what did The Cultivator wrote about America then? Below are some excerpts published in Aynur Bashirli’s In a Spotlight of Free Press: New York Times about Azerbaijan and translated here by me:

From America they write that the population of the United States is 40 million and they publish 7,643 newspapers. However, in all Europe, Asia and Africa with several hundred million inhabitants, there aren’t so many newspapers. The reason is that the population of the country mentioned above is completely literate and they read newspapers every day. (The Cultivator, January 1, 1876)

America was a land of inventions then as well:

A writing machine is invented in America which looks like a piano. When you push its keys, each writes a separate letter. Reportedly, this machine writes much faster and better than handwriting. (The Cultivator, October 8, 1876)

America was also our fierce rival back then:

As no kerosene was imported from America this year, price of a pood of Baku kerosene has risen to six rubles and half. (The Cultivator, February, 1877)

What French newspapers wrote about America:

French newspapers report that something like a telegraph is invented in America which allows speaking [through it]. They have tested this telegraph as such: when one preacher in Boston started to talk, people of Salem, a city in a distance of 250 versts, could listen to him. Then the preacher heard back the cheers and applauds of the crowd. And now, music will be played in New York and people of Philadelphia, a city in a distance of 500 versts will listen and applaud. This equipment is called a telephone. (The Cultivator, April 28, 1877)

Perhaps this was the first time when broad Azeri public heard about telephone.

And most hilarious piece ever:

New York, America, 26 October – In American Republic, a person named Gilding[?] was elected the President (that is a ruler) for 4 years. They say the aforementioned person was a tailor. (The Cultivator, November 6, 1876)

Subsequent research has proved that this news was at least mock 😉