The Cablegraph and A Wander Board

George Foster Pearson took making dial plate talking boards seriously as you can see by the two oak beauties on this page. Presumably the spirits found them equally attractive. The Cablegraph, patented in 1900, resembled a horseshoe magnet because Pearson felt that magnetism had everything to do with contacting the other side. That wood is not magnetic didn't matter. It was animal magnetism—that ethereal fluid that flows mysteriously through the bodies of living beings that was important. Using that magnetic force you could power the board and thus contact the dead. Or, so he claimed.

These instruments were close relatives of earlier Pease-Hare dial plate talking boards with several design improvements. Pearson connected the touch pad to the needle dial with a lever and gears rather than the pulley and rope of the earlier models. This made the action smooth and effortless. He spent more time in the wood shop than with the typewriter however, and after reading his rambling, run-on instructions on the back of the board, one can't help but think that he may have been drinking his spirits rather than contacting them. This is exactly as he wrote them, word for word:

The Cablegraph

An instrument for communication between the world we now live in and the world we live in after the change called Death.


After seating yourself in a comfortable position where you can allow free use of your hands and arms. Place the instrument in your lap or upon a table and upon the circular top place the ends of your fingers lightly having the free use of the arms and shoulder muscles relaxed and with the thoughts in mind explain that you would be pleased to hear from someone over there and sit in that position from 5 to 10 minutes, if it should not start try one hand. It has to be magnetized, if it should not start then have some other person put their hands on the points of fingers and so operate until you find the one who will assist you (if you have not the power alone) to operate it. When once you find the ones to operate it, the rest comes of itself, through itself be patient and not bring too doubtful conditions as conditions have a great influence in the operating of the Cablegraph, when once you have found the right magnetic force for operating, then ask questions and ask for your friends to be brought in contact with you and the machine and use your best judgment as to the fact of their communication. Evenings at the twilight hour is the best time to receive messages.

George F. Pearson, Inventor and Manf'r
27 Loring Street, Lowell, Mass


In 1919, Pearson introduced an "improved" Cablegraph which he called the "Wander Board." A modified horseshoe shape was now incorporated into the design. If your magnetism was low and you couldn't contact the spirits, at least you could have fun trying as he stated in his new patent: "The invention has relation to devices operated or controlled by the hand or finger pressure, whereby messages are conveyed from the spirit world to the operator. Of course irrespective of the use of this instrument to aid or act as a medium in the transmission of spirit messages, it is useful as an amusement device. It is quite generally acknowledged nowadays however that communications with the spirit world are possible and not infrequent." The directions printed on the back of the Wander Board were now slightly more coherent.

DIRECTIONS for the Cablegraph or Wander Board

To operate, lay the board on your lap or on a table. Place the tips of your fingers lightly on the disc, or sensitive key. You may then ask questions audibly or mentally, and the spirit impulse will cause the disc to move to the right or left, bringing the hand or pointer in registration with the required letter, number or phrase to spell out or convey the message.

For the majority of people, the Cablegraph will establish communications with the Great Unknown in a very few minutes, and furnish the most astonishing answers, facts and advice. Other persons require a longer sitting, but persevere and the Cablegraph will finally please, surprise and mystify you.

The Cablegraph will operate equally well when two persons place their fingers on the disc, provided the question is asked by only one of the sitters at a time, to prevent confusion.

Invented by George F. Pearson
Indicator design patented May 29, 1900, No. 32,739
Improved Cablegraph or Wanderboard Patent Pending. Serial No. 306,730
Price $2.50 Each
Sole Mfrs.
Wanderboard CO.
Lowell, Mass., U.S.A. P.O. Box 1035

Back to the Dial Plate Talking Boards.

This is the Museum of Talking Boards
You are visiting the Museum of Talking Boards
Copyright © 1996-2017. All Rights Reserved.