An ‘Analog’ Telephone (1878).

Long-distance audio communication pre-telephone looked a little like this, brought to the world by Thomas Edison.
What we’ve looking at here is a fellow positioned between a megaphone and listening devices–used in concert, they may have been able to communicate with a similarly-encumbered person a mile or two away (absent hills and dales and trees and buildings and so on…).

All of this technology is very old: for example, the famous “Horn of Alexander” going all the way back to, well, Alexander the Great, who was said to be able to communicate by voice with troops ten miles distant.
Athanasius Kircher also wrote about Old Tech in this department in his Ars Magna (1646) and Phonurga Nova (1674).
It is interesting that Edison was tinkering around with this in the year following Bell’s telephone.
Source: JF Ptak Science Books: An “Analog” Telephone (1878)

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