Science Fiction Studies

#78 = Volume 26, Part 2 = July 1999

Martin T. Willis

Edison as Time Traveler: H.G. Wells’s Inspiration for his First Scientific Character

Critics of H.G. Wells’s The Time Machine have reached no conclusions about the character of, or inspiration for, the Time Traveler. Opinions differ greatly as to the personality of this central figure, with critics forming three distinct groups: those who see the Time Traveler as a poor example of the late Victorian scientist, those who view him as a scientific Everyman, and those who find him a reflection either of Wells himself or of some mythic precedent. Israel Zangwill, in a critique that appeared soon after the publication of the novel (1895), reflects the opinions of the first of these groups, arguing that the Time Traveler "behaves exactly like the hero of a commonplace sensational novel, with his frenzies of despair and his appeals to fate" (qtd. in Parrinder 40). A sizeable proportion of contemporary criticism agrees with this view. Robert J. Begiebing notes that Wells’s hero is "a kind of Trickster figure, a seeming "‘quack’ and magician" (203) rather than a scientist; and John Batchelor defines the Time Traveler as "an ordinary, anonymous middle-class person" (9).

Obversely, Bernard Bergonzi—deservedly a well-regarded critic of Wells’s work—suggests that the Time Traveler may at first appear as a sober bourgeois but remembers that "he is, after all, a late-Victorian scientist with a keen interest in technology" (55). John Huntington also places greater emphasis on the actions of the Time Traveler than on initial impressions, highlighting the club-making episode as indicative of an "ability to do more than serve machines the way the Morlocks do, but to improvise and invent" (40). Merritt Abrash obliquely lends his support to this critical position when he notes that "science is [the Time Traveler’s] only topic of conversation" (5), while Brian Murray is outspoken in arguing that "The Time Machine features a central character, the ‘Time Traveler,’ who is not a ghoul; he is congenial, refined—precisely the sort of figure that Sir Richard Gregory had in mind when he praised Wells’s ability to present "scientific workers" as "human beings" and not as the travesties in which they figure in novels and romances written without his intimate knowledge of them and their impulses" (Murray 88).

There remains a third view of the Time Traveler, however, one that seeks mythic or other models for this complex character. David Ketterer was the first critic to recognize the hero’s mythological dimensions in The Time Machine: "It is tempting to identify him, by analogy at least, with H.G. Wells. However that may be, the analogue that Wells himself supplies is Oedipus" (340). Ketterer defends his interpretation by citing the similarities of the riddle, the image of the sphinx, the Time Traveler’s limp, and the mythological allusions of the novel’s conclusion. Begiebing likewise notes a mythical aspect to the central figure of Wells’s novel, although he does not link the Time Traveler to a specific mythic or literary prototype. More generically, Begiebing believes that the Time Traveler "exhibits at least three characteristics of the primordial heroic figure" (202). Harry M. Geduld pursues Ketterer’s suggestion that Wells himself can be found in the Time Traveler’s character, suggesting that "a degree of self-idealization also seems evident in his depiction of the spare and solitary scientist of The Time Machine, but we must be extremely wary of any elaborate identification of the Time Traveler and H.G. Wells" (4). Brian Murray’s criticism is more encompassing, agreeing with each of these critics in turn: "The Time Traveler stands for much that Wells would consistently praise: he is resourceful, intrepid, and intensely curious about the world he occupies; he is then linked to a long line of literary heroes, to Ulysses and Aeneas, bravely facing a series of hard tests and gaining wisdom as he goes" (89).

Disagreement among critics, then, is rife; and different interpretations of the Time Traveler may mark the work even of single commentators. There is consensus, however, on the protagonist of the short story that gave Wells the impetus for The Time Machine. Dr Nebogipfel, hero of "The Chronic Argonauts," is commonly branded a poorly executed, quasi-magical figure whose necromantic leanings override and negate his scientific sensibilities and reduce the effectiveness of the story as a whole. As Bernard Bergonzi writes:

Dr. Nebogipfel, though supposedly a scientist and F.R.S., is a strange character to have been produced by the keen young student who had studied under Huxley. In fact, he has very little to do with the atmosphere of progressive thinking and intellectual inquiry that had characterized the Royal College of Science in the eighties ... and a great deal to do with a literary tradition exemplified by Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Stevenson’s Dr Jekyll. Stevenson’s story had appeared in 1886, two years before Wells’ romance. Nebogipfel is the scientist as magician or alchemist, rather than the sober investigator of the physical world, and substantially the same type is to recur in Wells’ fiction as Dr Moreau, and Griffin, the Invisible Man. Nebogipfel, like Frankenstein, is of a solitary and secretive disposition. To this extent, too, he corresponds to the contemporary aesthetic ideal of the artist who must necessarily be isolated and suffering before he can create. (34-35)

Roslynn D. Haynes likewise views Dr Nebogipfel as a derivative of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, physically as well as symbolically: "Dr Nebogipfel of ‘The Chronic Argonauts’ seems at first to be merely an exaggerated alchemist figure, his face that of the sunken-eyed fanatic, his demeanour reminiscent of Frankenstein" (197). John Batchelor, too, emphasizes literary precedent when, in terminology similar to Haynes, he points out that "Dr. Nebogipfel seems part demon, part alchemist, an uneasily jocular descendant of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and of Dr. Faustus" (9).

For the majority of critics, then, Nebogipfel and the Time Traveler have little in common as characters, despite the connection between "The Chronic Argonauts" and The Time Machine. Even critics who do not believe the Time Traveler is representative of the Victorian scientist still see a significant difference between the magician and trickster of the novel and the necromantic alchemist of the earlier story. The presumed disparity between the two protagonists is, however, illusory. Dr Nebogipfel and the Time Traveler–as well as the versions of these figures that appear in the interim Time Machine narratives–are far more closely connected than previous commentary has allowed. The continuity among the different protagonists is provided, I shall argue, by one historical figure: Thomas Edison. It was Edison who inspired H.G. Wells in creating the Time Traveler and all his prototypes.

While such a claim has not been made before with regard to Wells’s writings, Edison did inspire other works of science fiction towards the end of the nineteenth century. The most important of these are Garrett Serviss’s Edison’s Conquest of Mars (1898), which can be categorized as a utopian version of Wells’s own (largely dystopian) The War of the Worlds (1898), and Villiers de L’Isle-Adam’s L’Eve Future (1886). The latter is the more interesting of the two for my purposes, for it characterizes Edison not only as a scientist and inventor but also as a figure of contemporary mythology, tied as closely to a necromantic as to a scientific tradition. The importance of this double image of Edison will be made clear as the present argument progresses. It is sufficient to highlight that writers of fiction were interested in Thomas Edison during the late 1800s, although Wells’s own interest in Edison has not yet been remarked.

Towards the end of his career, Wells’s knowledge of Edison is not in doubt. In The Work, Wealth and Happiness of Mankind (1932),Wells wrote enthusiastically of Edison’s contribution to science and human endeavor generally, suggesting that "his was certainly the most ingenious mind that has ever devoted itself to the commercial application of science" (454). Furthermore, in a phrase that could as easily be applied to the Time Traveler as to the American inventor, Wells argues that Edison was "driven by an indefatigable curiosity" (455). While this late work is useful in highlighting Wells’s appreciation of Edison’s character and inventions, it does not, of course, go any way towards proving that the younger Wells—the Wells who wrote "The Chronic Argonauts" and The Time Machine—had any detailed knowledge of Edison’s work or any intention of drawing on Edison in creating his fictional characters. For evidence of this, it is necessary to turn to Edison’s career in the 1880s and 1890s and to what Wells may have known of it at that time.

During the years from 1888 to 1895—from Wells’s first conception of The Time Machine and, logically, of the Time Traveler, to the published version of the novel1—Thomas Edison was at the peak of his career. In this seven-year span he recorded hundreds of patents, improved his revolutionary phonograph, and extended the use of electric lighting into the public sphere.2 As Ronald W. Clark states in his biography of Edison, "between 1880 and 1890 Edison crossed that real but unidentifiable frontier which divides the famous from the celebrities" (149). The U.S. popular press had dubbed him the greatest living American and he was undoubtedly the world’s best known living inventor. Edison recorded his first patent at twenty-one, earned and lost several fortunes during a long career, invented the first instruments to record and reproduce the human voice, brought electric light into homes world-wide, made the first piece of cinema complete with sound and movement, and continued to work at least a sixteen-hour day almost to the point of his death in 1931 at the age of 84. During the late nineteenth century, he was viewed as the ultimate Victorian hero, displaying all the qualities so exalted at that time, as encapsulated by Thomas Hughes: "[Edison] was known to Americans and to the world as a plain-speaking man of inventive genius who, through self-education and discipline, applied his talents to the solution of practical problems of substance and intrinsic interest" (3).

Despite this aggrandizement, public perceptions of Edison were not entirely homogenous. While the general layman would certainly have respected Edison’s scientific pragmatism, a segment of the population regarded him with some superstition. The rural community of Menlo Park, where Edison founded a laboratory, feared the scientific experiments taking place almost on their own doorsteps. They called him "The Wizard of Menlo Park," a title that, fueled by the popular media, became synonymous with the practical inventor. The irony of these opposing perceptions of Edison is very clear: while the world heard of yet another empirical invention revealing sound common sense, they were also hearing that a wizard had been behind its construction.

In Britain, too, the popular press saw Edison as a mixture of scientist and magician. H.G. Wells would have been aware of this mixed persona, perpetuated in numerous articles, as The Times of 31 December 1878 testifies: "Mr. Thomas Alva Edison’s present sayings and doings are watched and noted with feverish anxiety both in the United States and in this country" (4). The same article, indeed, exhibits both the magical and scientific view of Edison, claiming at one point that "he is in the position of a skilful conjurer" (4) and at another that "he has a large factory and laboratory at Menlo Park ... where many highly skilled artificers are employed in constructing elaborate machinery" (4).

H.G. Wells works different sides of this dual image of Edison throughout the long genesis of The Time Machine. The early short story "The Chronic Argonauts" plays heavily on "The Wizard of Menlo Park" persona. Dr. Nebogipfel inspires great interest in the small Welsh village of Llyddwdd when he arrives unannounced and immediately occupies the Old Manse. Curiosity very quickly becomes distrust, however, as Nebogipfel proves himself to be somewhat odd: "In almost every circumstance of life the observant villagers soon found his ways were not only not their ways, but altogether inexplicable upon any theory of motives they could conceive" (137). Edison inspired similar feelings when he arrived in the quiet Menlo Park area of New Jersey, as Ronald Clark has reported: "By the simple inhabitants of the region ... he was regarded with a kind of uncanny fascination, somewhat similar to that inspired by Dr. Faustus of old, and no feat, however startling, would have been considered too great for his occult attainments" (73).

In short, Nebogipfel’s arrival in a rural community, his construction of a laboratory for his work, and the reaction to this intrusion from the resident population parallels exactly Edison’s move from his New York workshop to his Menlo Park research facilities in 1876. And one further aspect of Nebogipfel’s transformation of the Old Manse even more firmly allies him with Edison. The narrative reveals how, late one evening, a strange whizzing, buzzing whirr filled the night air, and a bright flicker glanced across the dim path of the wayfarers. All eyes were turned in astonishment to the Old Manse. The house no longer loomed a black featureless block but was filled to overflowing with light. From the gaping holes in the roof, from chinks and fissures amid tiles and brickwork, from every gap which Nature or man had pierced in the crumbling old shell, a blinding blue-white glare was streaming, beside which the rising moon seemed a disc of opaque sulphur." (139)

The coming of electric light is viewed as a transcendental experience by the local inhabitants of Llyddwdd; Wells emphasizes their ignorance of scientific advancement.

The light bulbs sending their beams streaming from the windows of the Old Manse also, of course, highlight Wells’s engagement with perhaps the best known of Thomas Edison’s inventions, one heavily covered by both the popular and scientific press. As early as New Year’s Day 1880, an article in Nature discussed Edison’s electric lighting at Menlo Park and found it "bright, clear, mellow, regular, free from flickering or pulsations, while the observer gets more satisfaction from it than from gas" (215). Wells apparently suggests a connection between Nebogipfel’s electric lighting and Edison’s spectacle of electricity at Menlo Park.

Now Wells discarded the electric light episode in later versions of The Time Machine: the final published novel explicitly refers to the gas lighting in the Time Traveler’s home. Such regression from a scientific advancement of the late nineteenth century to mid-Victorian technology appears, at first, incongruous: science fiction most often extrapolates on contemporary ingenuity, rather than looking back to the past. This would also seem to obscure any connection of Edison with the Time Traveler.

But I believe that the final omission of this scene fits into a pattern common to all Wells’s science fiction. In his well known introduction to Scientific Romances, Wells states that his narrative practice is to "domesticate the impossible hypothesis" (viii) in order to make plausible that which seems fantastic. The failure of "The Chronic Argonauts" rests upon just this problem: Dr Nebogipfel is too easily seen as a necromantic figure rather than a "plausible" scientist. Wells’s irony—directed at the Welsh villagers—is not effective: in relying on the "Wizard of Menlo Park" component of Edison’s myth in constructing Nebogipfel, that narrative becomes too overtly magical. In the versions of The Time Machine that were to follow "The Chronic Argonauts" (they were published in the National Observer and the New Review, respectively), Wells attempted to correct this bias, turning Nebogipfel into the Philosophical Inventor and discarding the Welsh village, the dark esotericism, and the electric light episode.

While Edison defined himself in phrasing similar to Wells’s, suggesting in an interview that "I might be called a scientific inventor, as distinguished from a mechanical inventor" (Clark 67), the characteristics of the Philosophical Inventor in the National Observer and the New Review versions are at odds with the popular conceptions of Thomas Edison in the early 1890s. Indeed, the New Review version states that the Philosophical Inventor "was a mathematician of peculiar subtlety, and one of our most conspicuous investigators in molecular physics.... In the after-dinner hours he was ever a wide and variegated talker.... At these times he was as unlike the popular conception of a scientific investigator as a man could be" (175).

The discarding of the electrical light episode is a further example of the disguising of character that Wells attempts in his re-workings of the original tale. Although electricity itself has little connection with the necromancy that Dr. Nebogipfel epitomizes, the myth of the "wizard" Edison focused on his electrical experiments at Menlo Park. In the popular imagination, then, magic and the electrical light were, if not synonymous, at least well-linked. For this reason Wells’s return to gas lighting in the final versions of his tale is no more than a further layer of domestication, a structuring of the commonplace and the traditional upon which the plausible foundations of his narrative are built. To have continued to emphasize electrical lighting—especially in the sensationalist manner of "The Chronic Argonauts"—would have been to upstage the most fantastic episodes of the narrative, which of course center on the time machine itself.

There do remain, regardless of Wells’s alteration of the character of the Philosophical Inventor, echoes of Edison’s myth both in the National Observer and the New Review versions. The protagonist in the National Observer version combines his professional and domestic affairs, with visitors appearing in his laboratory during the narrative—a domestic accommodation that parallels Edison’s Menlo Park facilities. Although these characters are never named in the National Observer version, by the time of the New Review these visitors to the Philosophical Inventor’s laboratory are given names: Blank, Dash and Chose. A ready comparison may be drawn here with Edison, who, inspired by his continued interest in telegraphy, nicknamed his first two children Dot and Dash.3

Other names in the National Observer version suggest further tenuous, though provocative, echoes of Edison’s domestic life. In this version the Eloi woman Weena first appears, and her name remains unchanged in the final version of The Time Machine. Even granting the alteration in spelling, a parallel with Edison’s own partner can be drawn. By the time of the writing of the National Observer narrative in the early 1890s, Edison had been married for several years to Mina, whose name is close to that of Wells’s Eloi character both in linguistic form and pronunciation.

The clues from language do not end there. While revealing the model time machine to his collected guests, the German Officer—a character who does not survive Wells’s later revisions—expresses his astonishment with the phrase "Gott in Himmel" (159)4, a perfectly apt reaction to the spectacle he has just witnessed. This character and his German exclamation, however, also recall Edison’s demonstration of the prototype phonograph. In the company of his assistant John Kreusi, Edison recited a nursery rhyme and then played back the phonograph recording. He, like the German Officer of Wells’s tale, was astonished: "Kreusi, after hearing the phonograph reproduce Edison reciting ‘Mary had a little lamb,’ could only respond, ‘Mein gott im Himmel’ [sic]" (Hughes 12). Although the phrase itself is common, its appearance, in both cases, in connection with the demonstration of a previously unseen invention under very similar circumstances suggests more than coincidence.5

From "The Chronic Argonauts" to the National Observer through the New Review, the characterization of Wells’s first scientific protagonist altered dramatically. These changes, however, had more to do with Wells’s conception of the narrative as a plausible piece of scientific extrapolation than with the discarding of Edison after the first short story. Indeed, Thomas Edison remains integral to the construction of each central character. It remains vital, however, to see how far elements of Edison’s myth can be traced in the character of the Time Traveler himself. For this the 1895 version of The Time Machine—the finished work in a sense6—must provide the basis for reference. And the close connections between Edison and Wells’s protagonist are still evident throughout that final version.

While many of the critics I have discussed earlier view the Time Traveler as a theorist, for instance, it is clear that practical invention is just as strong an impulse. A dinner guest reveals that "our chairs, being his patents, embraced and caressed us rather than submitted to be sat upon" (3). The Time Traveler’s impulse to build a time machine rather than merely theorize over the scientific possibility of time travel surely marks him as working in the realm of the practical. Thomas Edison, similarly, decried the exclusively intellectual branches of scientific research that produce hypotheses and speculations but cannot apply them. Ronald Clark puts this succinctly in revealing that "preoccupation with development of a specific invention to meet a specific need was a feature of Edison’s entire working life, and with it there went a contempt, barely concealed at times, for the man who dealt in theories rather than their practical application" (65). Furthermore, both Edison and the Time Traveler make practical provision for their "hands-on" philosophy. While Edison had a large-scale operation at Menlo Park, he also had a private workshop which, when he moved to West Orange later in his career, was connected to his own living quarters. Likewise the Time Traveler’s laboratory, in which he builds his time machine, is at the rear of his suburban London house.

As for their actual working practices, parallels can again be found. Edison’s methodology was "a curious combination of the personally intuitive and the strictly scientific" (Clark 71), a process of trial and error, of minor changes and alterations. The Time Traveler reveals a like-minded attitude in his examination of problems. During his sojourn in the future world of the Eloi and the Morlock, he puzzles for some time over the construction of the society of the year 802,701. Despite his limited knowledge, he immediately appraises the cultural situation: "‘Communism,’ said I to myself" (33). But later, the Time Traveler admits that his first theory was wholly wrong: "very simple was my explanation, and plausible enough—as most wrong theories are!" (38). Setbacks drive him to the discovery of new information, the continual evaluation of which brings him to his goal: a practical knowledge of the world of the far future.

Successful as the Time Traveler and Edison are in their trial and error approach to solving problems, it is undoubtedly a time-consuming and lengthy approach requiring much energy and dedication. Edison was renowned as an obsessive worker, spending days and nights in his workshops and catching only a few hours’ sleep on his desktop when fatigued. He seemed incapable of relaxation when faced with a problem, preferring the frustration of repeated failure to giving up or retreating. The popular media were well aware of this trait in his character and Edison was cruelly lampooned by many humorous publications on the day of his first marriage, when a variety of cartoons depicted him in his laboratory in a frock-coat, holding aloft a light bulb while the wedding reception carried on the celebrations in the adjacent room. The Time Traveler, although never reaching this level of preoccupation, displays a similar restlessness and hatred of inactivity when confronted with a difficult problem. The clearest example of this occurs when he returns from a day-long expedition through his immediate surroundings to discover that the time machine is no longer parked on the grass in front of the statue of the white Sphinx. After recovering from his panic, and deducing that the time machine is now inside the Sphinx, the Time Traveler attempts vainly to break down the heavy doors that block his access to the interior. His strenuous actions produce no effect and "at last, hot and tired, I sat down to watch the place. But I was too restless to watch for long: I am too Occidental for a long vigil. I could work at a problem for years, but to wait inactive for twenty-four hours–that is another matter" (44). One need look no further than the mainstream contemporary press to discover similar sentiments expressed about Edison himself. The Times reported during the 1870s that "having once undertaken to furnish a printing machine ... [Edison] shut himself up in a room declaring he would remain there till he succeeded in getting the machine to his mind. He accomplished the task after 60 hours of continuous labor" (4).

Practicality and professional pragmatism are not the only qualities shared by the Time Traveler and Edison. Their ability to solve problems—particularly those that occur in the process of their own investigations—is accompanied by a flamboyance evident in both their personalities. The Time Traveler demonstrates this very early in the narrative when he provides his guests with the most eclectic of after-dinner entertainments—his model time machine:

He [the Time Traveler] took one of the small octagonal tables that were scattered about the room, and set it in front of the fire, with two legs on the hearthrug. On this table he placed the mechanism. Then he drew up a chair, and sat down. The only other object on the table was a small shaded lamp, the bright light of which fell upon the model. There were also perhaps a dozen candles about, two in brass candlesticks upon the mantel and several in sconces, so that the room was brilliantly illuminated[...]. There was a minute’s pause perhaps. The Psychologist seemed about to speak to me, but changed his mind. Then the Time Traveler put forward his finger towards the lever. "No," he said suddenly. "Lend me your hand." And turning to the Psychologist, he took that individual’s hand in his own and told him to put out his forefinger. So that it was the Psychologist himself who sent forth the model Time Machine on its interminable voyage. (9-10)

The deference paid to the small model, the atmospheric illumination of the room, and the use of the Psychologist’s finger all add to the theatrical spectacle the Time Traveler cleverly engineers. No mere presentation of fact or simple relation of events is good enough for the ingenious inventor to first reveal his remarkable discovery. Instead, he constructs a dramatic exhibition that has great impact upon the gathered witnesses.

This sense of showmanship was shared by Thomas Edison, who shrewdly realized that making an impression was often as important as providing a worthwhile invention. His demonstration of the electric lightbulb, first to a select group of important public figures and then to the general public, was just such a feat. As Thomas Hughes relates, "special trains from New York and elsewhere brought the prominent and the plain to view four houses illuminated, streets lit, and the laboratory glowing" (30). Equally spectacular was Edison’s revelatory exhibition of the phonograph to reporters for Scientific American: he so excited and enthralled onlookers that "the editor had to stop the demonstration because the size of the crowd that had assembled threatened to collapse the office floor" (Hughes 13).

It can readily be seen, then, why interpretations of Wells’s Time Traveler differ so markedly. A major influence on the character, Thomas Edison, was himself a man of paradox—utilitarian yet theatrical, necromantic yet scientific. In various versions of The Time Machine, Wells experimented with the different public personae of Edison: however unlikely it seems that any one figure could have influenced Dr. Nebogipfel, the Philosophical Inventor, and the Time Traveler, these protagonists all share some aspect of the many-faceted personality and myth of Thomas Edison. In addition, details in the texts also locate roots of Wells’s character in Edison’s private world. A common thread can be seen to run from the early short story, "The Chronic Argonauts," to the completed novel published in 1895. Nebogipfel explores the "Wizard of Menlo Park" side of the Edison myth, the Philosophical Inventor—although less explicitly representative—reveals some interesting biographical parallels, and the final protagonist, the Time Traveler, displays many of the characteristics of Edison as an indefatigable practical scientist.

In their roles as scientist and inventor, both Thomas Edison and the fully-fledged Time Traveler of the 1895 romance reveal marked similarities in technique, working practice, and personality. No longer should Wells’s Time Traveler be seen as the cool scientific thinker, or a mythical hero in the epic mold, or an ordinary Victorian who is out of his depth in the world of the Eloi and Morlock. Rather he should be viewed as a subtle and complimentary portrait of the foremost scientist of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, a man whose work offered as powerful a vision of the future as Wells’s evocation of the year 802,701.


1. H.G. Wells began The Time Machine in 1888, with the short story "The Chronic Argonauts," published in the Science Schools Journal between April and June of that year. Further versions appeared in the National Observer between March and June of 1894 and the New Review, which serialized the story from January to May 1895. The completed novel was first published in the United States in May 1895; this was closely followed by a more definitive edition published in Britain later that month. I recommend Harry M. Geduld’s The Definitive Time Machine, which republishes "The Chronic Argonauts" and excerpts from the two later versions. This book was invaluable during my initial researches into the genesis of Wells’s first scientific romance.

2. On the life and work of Thomas Edison, see in Works Cited the studies of Ronald W. Clark, Thomas P. Hughes, Nina Morgan, and Keith Ellis.

3. Ronald Clark makes note of this in his biography of Edison: "A daughter, named Marion [sic], was born the following year [1872]; four years later, a son christened Thomas and in 1879 a second son, William Leslie. Edison, still concentrating on the telegraph, nicknamed the first two children Dot and Dash" (32). I am unable to locate any publications contemporaneous with Wells’s Time Machine narratives that tell this story and thereby prove that the nicknames were known to the wider public in the 1880s and 1890s.

4. This page reference refers to the reprinted version of the National Observer articles that can be found in Harry M. Geduld (154-174).

5. Although I find this parallel striking and undoubtedly suggestive I am unable, once again, to provide any evidence that the story of John Kreusi was told in contemporary publications. At the same time, it remains a piece of circumstantial evidence that is difficult to ignore.

6. This was the last major revision of The Time Machine story. All future alterations were minor.


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