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"A science fiction story is a story built around human beings, with a human problem and a human solution, which would not have happened at all without its scientific content."
- Theodore Sturgeon

Telephone Funnel  
  A kind of two-way public loudspeaker.  

...we stepped off the moving portion of the street into an open space surrounded by telephone funnels, at which small groups of men and women were listening. As he halted, a loud voice began calling:

“Latest news! Rain is expected. Don’t forget Freedom Day! Muster for your amusement in Picnic Park, or the Council will make it hot for you! The escaped defectives all caught and sent to the leathers. A foreign spy captured this morning after a desperate resistance and now under guard. The miserable defective has confessed, involving numerous others. He is a low-class brach and a filthy degenerate. Boss Lembken is on the job. Praise him!”

“Hurrah!” shouted the mob.

“Come,” said David, plucking me by the sleeve.

It was only then I realized that the reference was 69to me. I must have uttered an indignant exclamation, for he drew me away hurriedly.

“Hush! You must keep your tongue guarded in public,” he whispered. “One can hear at both ends of the telephone.”

From The Messiah of the Cylinder, by Victor Rousseau.
Published by AC McClurg & Co. in 1917
Additional resources -

They were present in rooms as well:

To my surprise his voice dropped, and, before answering, he cast a cautious glance toward the telephone funnel. Then, rising, he stuffed a sofa cover into it.

Compare to the membrane from We (1922) by Yevgeny Zamyatin and the telescreen from George Orwell's 1984.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Messiah of the Cylinder
  More Ideas and Technology by Victor Rousseau
  Tech news articles related to The Messiah of the Cylinder
  Tech news articles related to works by Victor Rousseau

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