In 1617, Italian Famianus Strada published the first edition of Prolusiones Academicae, in which he publicized a story, dating back to at least the middle ages, that two needles magnetized by the same loadstone would thereafter swing together in unison, providing two-way communication over any distance. Although clearly impossible, at the time this fanciful story was even believed by some scientists of the time, and was remembered once another Italian, Guglielmo Marconi, finally developed a practical means of long-distance wireless communication.
Electrical Review, April 26, 1899, page 260:
A PROPHETIC FORECAST--A correspondent calls attention to a passage in The Spectator (No. 241 of the year 1711) which is interesting in connection with wireless telegraphy and telegraphy in general. The passage reads thus:
Strada, in one of his prolusions, gives an account of a chimerical correspondence between two friends by the help of a certain loadstone, which had such virtue in it that, if it touched two several needles, when one of the needles so touched began to move, the other, though at never so great a distance, moved at the same time and in the same manner. He tells us that the two friends, being each of them possessed of one of these needles, made a kind of dial-plate, inscribing it with 24 letters in the same manner as the hours of the day are marked upon the ordinary dial-plate. They then fixed one of the needles on each of these plates in such manner that it could move round without impediment so as to touch any of the 24 letters. Upon their separating from one another into distant countries they agreed to withdraw themselves punctually into their closets at a certain hour of the day and to converse with one another by means of this their invention. Accordingly, when they were some hundred miles asunder, each of them shut himself up in his closet at the time appointed, and immediately cast his eye upon his dial-plate. If he had a mind to write anything to his friend, he directed his needle to every letter that formed the words which he had occasion for, making a little pause at the end of every word or sentence to avoid confusion. The friend, in the meanwhile, saw his own sympathetic needle moving of itself to every letter which that of his correspondent pointed at. By this means they talked together across a whole continent, and conveyed their thoughts to one another in an instant over cities or mountains, seas or deserts.