A Rhyme of History is another part of evolutionary technology. A rhyme of history is when a “new technology is a fresh emergence of the impact felt many years before from another technology” (Thornburg, 2014j). When looking at the different technologies throughout the years, there are many that would qualify as a Rhyme of History. When I think of a very relevant Rhyme of History, I think of e-mailing and text messaging as a means of communication. Both Text messaging and email can be considered a Rhyme of history.

Today, many people will just pick up their cell phones and send a message without thinking much about it. No one thinks, how am I able to do this and how has technology evolved so that this is possible. Text messaging is a newer trend. Long before we had mobile phones to text, many of us used different service providers on the World Wide Web to send an email. When you look back previous to e-mail, we would see our first rhyme of history. People would go to the post office to send letters through the United States Postal Services. This carries back throughout time where different systems were utilized for people to communicate with one another.

Our next Rhyme in History comes right here at home in the United States. When looking at the United States history with the postal system, we find that “the mail system began in the late 1600s when mail was carried by friends, merchants, and Native Americans. It was in 1673 when Governor Francis Lovelace created a monthly post between New York and Boston.” (Frederick, 2008 p.1) During 1683, we also had out the first post office in Pennsylvania opened by William Penn.

This relates back to closely to our next Rhyme in History. If we go back to 1653, we will find that De Valayer set up a postal system in Paris. He “set up mail boxes and delivered any letters placed in them if they used envelopes that only he sold.” (History of Mail, 2016 p.1) Thanks to an enemy of his putting live mice in his postal bins, this business venture did not work out. This did not stop mail from becoming a way that people would communicate.

If we go back in history even further, where our Rhyme in History comes from is very far back. We have a history of mail and communication needs all the way in 2400BC. In 2400 BC there were the first postal systems and couriers that were put into practice. It was the start of communication through people. This was seen in Egypt when “pharos employed curriers to deliver written documents throughout Egypt” (Wikipedia, 2007, p.1). The main uses of these couriers were for the diffusion of their decrees in their territory. This is amazing to think all of our history of communication comes from here.

When we go back throughout history, we can see all the times that mail and communication have been important to us. We can also watch how they evolve as new technologies become emergent. The reason we can say that texting and email are Rhymes in History is that it dates back all the way to 2400BC. Now, everyone can pick up a phone, send a text message or log onto a computer and seamlessly e-mail one another as a form of communication. By looking at our needs in the past, we will be able to predict the needs we will have in the future.



Laureate Education (Producer). (2014j). David Thornburg: Six forces that drive emerging technologies [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.

History of Mail (2016). Retrieved July 3, 2016 from

Frederick, Ben (2008). The History of Communication Technology: Postal System. Retrieved July 4, 2016, from

Wikipedia (2007) Mail. Retrieved July 5, 2016, from:

  1. Diana Figueroa says:

    Hi Frances,

    Great post! You have clearly described an in depth analysis of the history of forms of communication. It is clear that what we call texting or emailing today dates back many many years ago. Part of comparing emerging technologies through the perspective of rhymes history is taking a look at the past, but also predict the future. Based on your research of texting and email communications and wearing your futurist hat, what will be the emergent technology that will continue the communication of texts or emails 25 years from now? Could the postal system become obsolete?


  2. I think that the postal service as we know it indeed will be obsolete in the next 20 years. We will be able to weigh and mail packages from our home. We already can do that now. I am pretty sure it will be all run by computers on a conveyer belt. There will be very few human jobs left. There will be no more typical store front to go drop the packages off at or to buy stamps. Everything will be done from the home. Buy your supplies at any local store and just do it yourself on your printer. Even bills are moving to be ebills. They want to soon make actual paperwork obsolete and have everything online. This just seems to be where we are moving towards. Do I agree this is the best thing for society… not exactly… but humans will be replaced by new technologies more and more. The more we utilize technology the more it becomes and integrated part into our lives… think about this… could you live without your cell phone now? How often do you check it… can you go more than 6 hours without checking it… can you go a day… mine is in my hand every second of every day unless I am asleep… and it is what it is…

  3. Monica Triplett says:

    You are absolutely correct in your assertion that communication, is a Rhyme of History. Your blog provides a comprehensive overview of the development of the postal system. Cellphones have become ingrained in our everyday lives, and I’m sure most of us fail to reflect on how the communication process evolved to where it is today. We now have many options for communication: physical mail, e-mail, and text. Thinking of the future, what do you predict will the next method of communication to evolve?

  4. I think that the method of communication will evolve and have to do with AR. Communication will become seamless and integrated into regular life just like AR will be one day. I think we will be able to read the text messages as they pop up in front of us and use a voice to text to message back. I think this will happen for emails as well. That’s just my thoughts though.

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