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Directory of Mark Twain's maxims, quotations, and various opinions:

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TELEPHONE

One of the very most useful of all inventions, but rendered almost worthless & a cold & deliberate theft & swindle by the black scoundrelism & selfishness of the companies of chartered robbers who conduct it.
- Mark Twain's Notebooks & Journals, Volume 3, Notebook 30, August 1890-June 1891

early telephone
Illustration of earliest telephone from advertising art.

It is my heart-warm and world-embracing Christmas hope and aspiration that all of us, the high, the low, the rich, the poor, the admired, the despised, the loved, the hated, the civilized, the savage (every man and brother of us all throughout the whole earth), may eventually be gathered together in a heaven of everlasting rest and peace and bliss, except the inventor of the telephone.
- A version of this quote was published in "Christmas Greetings," Boston Daily Globe, December 25, 1890, p. 3. The Globe printing eliminated the phrase in the above parenthesis and changed the word "except" to "escape." The version here is from Caroline Harnsberger's Mark Twain at Your Fingertips. (Related resource: Letter from Mark Twain to Gardiner Hubbard, father-in-law of Alexander Graham Bell from the Library of Congress site. )

Consider that a conversation by telephone -- when you are simply sitting by and not taking any part in that conversation -- is one of the solemnests curiosities of this modern life.
- "A Telephonic Conversation," 1880

Confound a telephone, anyway. It is the very demon for conveying similarities of sound that are miracles of divergence from similarity of sense.
- A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

It is a time-saving, profanity-breeding, useful invention, and in America to be found in all homes except parsonages.
- "Letters to Satan," Europe and Elsewhere

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