"The cavalry announced plans to equip its scouts with a new type of mobile telephone. Like earlier horse-phones, it had a cord. Wire stored on a 5-mile reel played out as a scout rode. The improved model let a rider make calls without having to first dismount and then drive a spike into the ground to complete the electrical connection. Instead, the grounding wire was attached to the horse's skin. The mild electrical current would pass through its body to its hoofs, one of which was almost always touching the ground."
(((bruces remarks: How many "earlier horse-phones" could there have been? It's not hard to see why this bizarre telephony experiment failed to prosper; how can a surreptitious, fast-moving cavalry scout deploy a five- mile long telephone reel? Still, this medium may have been developed for some time. The fact that the horse itself became an integral part of the network: this cumulative improvement conveys a real sense of design elegance.)))
Greg Riker (griker@MICROSOFT.com)