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An electrical telegraph was a point-to-point text messaging system, used from the 1840s until the mid 20th century when it was slowly replaced by other telecommunication systems. At the sending station switches connected a source of current to the telegraph wires. At the receiving station the current activated electromagnets which moved indicators, providing either a visual or audible indication of the text. It was the first electrical
telecommunications Telecommunication is the transmission of information by various types of technologies over , radio, , or other systems. It has its origin in the desire of humans for communication over a distance greater than that feasible with the , but with ...
system and the most widely used of a number of early messaging systems called ''
telegraph Telegraphy is the long-distance transmission of messages where the sender uses symbolic codes, known to the recipient, rather than a physical exchange of an object bearing the message. Thus is a method of telegraphy, whereas is not. Ancien ...

telegraph
s'', that were devised to communicate text messages more rapidly than by physical transportation. Prior to the electric telegraph,
semaphore Semaphore is the use of an apparatus with telegraphy Telegraphy is the long-distance transmission of textual messages where the sender uses a semaphore system, known to the recipient, rather than a physical exchange of an object bearing ...
systems were used, including beacons,
smoke signal The smoke signal is one of the oldest forms of long-distance communication. It is a form of visual communication used over a long distance. In general smoke signals are used to transmit news, signal danger, or to gather people to a common area. ...
s,
flag semaphore Flag semaphore (from the Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the used in and the from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods: (), Dark Ages (), the period (), and the period ...
, and
optical telegraph An optical telegraph is a line of stations, typically towers, for the purpose of conveying textual information by means of visual signals. There are two main types of such systems; the semaphore telegraph which uses pivoted indicator arms and ...

optical telegraph
s for visual signals to communicate over distances of land. Electrical telegraphy can be considered to be the first example of
electrical engineering Electrical engineering is an engineering discipline concerned with the study, design, and application of equipment, devices, and systems which use electricity, electronics The field of electronics is a branch of physics and electrical enginee ...

electrical engineering
, and was used by the emerging railway companies to develop train control systems that minimised the chances of trains colliding with each other. This was built around the
signalling block system Signalling block systems enable the safe and efficient operation of railways Rail transport (also known as train transport) is a means of transferring passengers and goods on wheeled vehicle A vehicle (from la, vehiculum) is a machine ...
with signal boxes along the line communicating with their neighbouring boxes by telegraphic sounding of single-stroke bells and three-position
needle telegraph A needle telegraph is an electrical telegraph An electrical telegraph is a point-to-point text messaging system, primarily used from the 1840s until the mid 20th century when it was slowly replaced by other telecommunication systems. It used ...
instruments. Text telegraphy consisted of two or more geographically separated stations (often called
telegraph office Telegraphy is the long-distance transmission of textual messages where the sender uses a semaphore Semaphore is the use of an apparatus with telegraphy Telegraphy is the long-distance transmission of textual messages where the se ...
s) connected by wires, usually supported overhead on
utility pole A utility pole is a or post used to support s and various other public utilities, such as , , and related equipment such as and s. It can be referred to as a transmission pole, telephone pole, telecommunication pole, power pole, hydro pole, tel ...

utility pole
s (originally called telegraph poles). There were many different electrical telegraph systems invented, but the ones that became widespread fit into two broad categories. The first category consists of needle telegraphs in which a needle pointer is made to move electromagnetically with an
electric current An electric current is a stream of charged particle In physics Physics (from grc, φυσική (ἐπιστήμη), physikḗ (epistḗmē), knowledge of nature, from ''phýsis'' 'nature'), , is the natural science that studies matter, ...
from a
battery Battery may refer to: Energy source * Electric battery, an electrochemical device to provide electrical power ** Automotive battery, a device to provide power to certain functions of an automobile ** List of battery types * Energy storage, inclu ...
or
dynamo A dynamo is an that creates using a . Dynamos were the first electrical generators capable of delivering power for industry, and the foundation upon which many other later devices were based, including the , the , and the . Today, the simple ...

dynamo
passing down the telegraph line. Early systems used multiple needles requiring multiple wires. The first commercial system, and the most widely used needle telegraph, was the
Cooke and Wheatstone telegraph The Cooke and Wheatstone telegraph was an early electrical telegraph An electrical telegraph is a point-to-point text messaging system, primarily used from the 1840s until the mid 20th century when it was slowly replaced by other telecommunic ...
, invented in 1837. Early equipment sets used five needles to point to the letter being transmitted, but the cost of installing wires was more economically significant than the cost of training operators so a single-needle system with a code that had to be learned became the norm. The second category consists of armature systems in which the current activates a
telegraph sounder A telegraph sounder is an antique electromechanical In engineering Engineering is the use of scientific principles to design and build machines, structures, and other items, including bridges, tunnels, roads, vehicles, and buildings ...

telegraph sounder
which makes a click. The archetype of this category was the Morse system, invented by
Samuel Morse Samuel Finley Breese Morse (April 27, 1791 – April 2, 1872) was an American inventor and painter. After having established his reputation as a portrait painter, in his middle age Morse contributed to the invention An invention is a uniq ...

Samuel Morse
in 1838, using a single wire. At the sending station, an operator would tap on a switch called a
telegraph key A telegraph key is a specialized electrical switch In , a switch is an that can disconnect or connect the conducting path in an , interrupting the or diverting it from one conductor to another. The most common type of switch is an electro ...
, spelling out text messages in
Morse code Morse code is a method used in telecommunication Telecommunication is the transmission of information by various types of technologies over wire A wire is a single usually cylindrical A cylinder (from Greek Greek may refer to: ...
. Originally, the armature was intended to make marks on paper tape, but operators learned to interpret the clicks and it was more efficient to write down the message directly. In 1865, the Morse system became the standard for international communication with a modified code developed for German railways. However, some countries continued to use established national systems internally for some time afterwards. In the 1840s, the electrical telegraph superseded optical telegraph systems (except in France), becoming the standard way to send urgent messages. By the latter half of the century, most developed nations had created commercial telegraph networks with local telegraph offices in most cities and towns, allowing the public to send messages called
telegram Telegraphy is the long-distance transmission of messages where the sender uses symbolic codes, known to the recipient, rather than a physical exchange of an object bearing the message. Thus flag semaphore is a method of telegraphy, whereas p ...

telegram
s addressed to any person in the country, for a fee. Beginning in 1854,
submarine telegraph cable A submarine communications cable is a cable laid on the seabed, sea bed between land-based stations to carry telecommunication signals across stretches of ocean and sea. The first submarine communications cables laid beginning in the 1850s carr ...
s allowed for the first rapid communication between continents. Electrical telegraph networks permitted people and commerce to transmit messages across both continents and oceans almost instantly, with widespread social and economic impacts. In the early 20th century the telegraph was slowly replaced by
teletype A teleprinter (teletypewriter, teletype or TTY) is an electromechanical device that can be used to send and receive typed messages through various communications channels, in both point-to-point (telecommunications), point-to-point and point-t ...
networks.


History


Early work

From early studies of electricity, electrical phenomena were known to travel with great speed, and many experimenters worked on the application of electricity to
communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power o ...

communication
s at a distance. All the known effects of electricity—such as sparks,
electrostatic attraction ''F'' between two point charges ''q''1 and ''q''2 is directly proportional to the product of the magnitudes of charges and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them. Like charges repel each other, and opposite charges mu ...
,
chemical change Chemical changes occur when a substance combines with another to form a new substance, called chemical synthesis or, alternatively, chemical decomposition into two or more different substances. These processes are called chemical reactions and, i ...
s,
electric shock Electrical injury is a physiological reaction caused by electric current An electric current is a stream of charged particle In physics Physics (from grc, φυσική (ἐπιστήμη), physikḗ (epistḗmē), knowledge of nature ...
s, and later
electromagnetism Electromagnetism is a branch of physics Physics is the that studies , its , its and behavior through , and the related entities of and . "Physical science is that department of knowledge which relates to the order of nature, or, in ...

electromagnetism
—were applied to the problems of detecting controlled transmissions of electricity at various distances. In 1753, an anonymous writer in the ''
Scots Magazine ''The Scots Magazine'' is a magazine containing articles on subjects of Scottish interest. It claims to be the oldest magazine in the world still in publication, although there have been several gaps in its publication history. It has reported on ev ...
'' suggested an electrostatic telegraph. Using one wire for each letter of the alphabet, a message could be transmitted by connecting the wire terminals in turn to an electrostatic machine, and observing the deflection of
pith Pith, or medulla, is a tissue Tissue may refer to: Biology * Tissue (biology), an ensemble of similar cells that together carry out a specific function * ''Triphosa haesitata'', a species of geometer moth found in North America * ''Triphosa d ...
balls at the far end. The writer has never been positively identified, but the letter was signed C.M. and posted from
Renfrew Renfrew (; sco, Renfrew; gd, Rinn Friù) is a town west of Glasgow in the west central Lowlands of Scotland. It is the historic county town of Renfrewshire (historic), Renfrewshire. Called the "Cradle of the House of Stewart, Royal Stewarts" ...

Renfrew
leading to a Charles Marshall of Renfrew being suggested. Telegraphs employing electrostatic attraction were the basis of early experiments in electrical telegraphy in Europe, but were abandoned as being impractical and were never developed into a useful communication system. In 1774,
Georges-Louis Le Sage Georges-Louis Le Sage (; 13 June 1724 – 9 November 1803) was a Republic and Canton of Geneva#History, Genevan physicist and is most known for his Le Sage's theory of gravitation, theory of gravitation, for his invention of an electric telegraph ...

Georges-Louis Le Sage
realised an early electric telegraph. The telegraph had a separate wire for each of the 26 letters of the
alphabet An alphabet is a standardized set of basic written symbols A symbol is a mark, sign, or word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semanti ...

alphabet
and its range was only between two rooms of his home. In 1800,
Alessandro Volta Alessandro Giuseppe Antonio Anastasio Volta (, ; 18 February 1745 – 5 March 1827) was an Italian physicist A physicist is a scientist A scientist is a person who conducts scientific research The scientific method is an Empiric ...

Alessandro Volta
invented the
voltaic pile The voltaic pile was the first electrical battery A battery is a device consisting of one or more electrochemical cell An electrochemical cell is a device capable of either generating electrical energy from chemical reaction A che ...

voltaic pile
, allowing for a
continuous current Direct current (DC) is the one directional flow of electric charge Electric charge is the physical property of matter that causes it to experience a force when placed in an electromagnetic field. There are two types of electric charge: ''posit ...
of
electricity Electricity is the set of physical Physical may refer to: *Physical examination, a regular overall check-up with a doctor *Physical (album), ''Physical'' (album), a 1981 album by Olivia Newton-John **Physical (Olivia Newton-John song), "Physi ...

electricity
for experimentation. This became a source of a low-voltage current that could be used to produce more distinct effects, and which was far less limited than the momentary discharge of an
electrostatic machine An electrostatic generator, or electrostatic machine, is an electromechanical generator that produces ''static electricity Static electricity is an imbalance of electric charge Electric charge is the physical property of matter that causes it ...
, which with
Leyden jar A Leyden jar (or Leiden jar, or archaically, sometimes Kleistian jar) is an electrical component An electronic component is any basic discrete device or physical entity in an electronic system Electronic may refer to: *Electronics, the scien ...

Leyden jar
s were the only previously known man-made sources of electricity. Another very early experiment in electrical telegraphy was an "electrochemical telegraph" created by the
German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language The German la ...
physician, anatomist and inventor
Samuel Thomas von Sömmering Samuel ''Šəmūʾēl''; ar, إِشْمَوِيل ' or '; el, Σαμουήλ ''Samouḗl''; la, Samūēl is a figure who, in the narratives of the Hebrew Bible, plays a key role in the transition from the period of the biblical judges t ...
in 1809, based on an earlier, less robust design of 1804 by Spanish
polymath A polymath ( el, πολυμαθής, , "having learned much"; la, homo universalis, "universal human") is an individual whose knowledge spans a substantial number of subjects, known to draw on complex bodies of knowledge to solve specific prob ...

polymath
and scientist
Francisco Salva Campillo Francisco Salva Campillo ( Catalan: Francesc Salvà i Campillo, July 12, 1751 – February 13, 1828) was a Spanish Catalan prominent late-Enlightenment period scientist known for working as a physician, physicist, meteorologist. Early life and ...
. Both their designs employed multiple wires (up to 35) to represent almost all Latin letters and numerals. Thus, messages could be conveyed electrically up to a few kilometers (in von Sömmering's design), with each of the telegraph receiver's wires immersed in a separate glass tube of acid. An electric current was sequentially applied by the sender through the various wires representing each letter of a message; at the recipient's end, the currents electrolysed the acid in the tubes in sequence, releasing streams of hydrogen bubbles next to each associated letter or numeral. The telegraph receiver's operator would watch the bubbles and could then record the transmitted message. This is in contrast to later telegraphs that used a single wire (with ground return).
Hans Christian Ørsted Hans Christian Ørsted ( , ; often rendered Oersted in English; 14 August 17779 March 1851) was a Danish physicist A physicist is a scientist A scientist is a person who conducts Scientific method, scientific research to advance knowledge ...

Hans Christian Ørsted
discovered in 1820 that an electric current produces a magnetic field that will deflect a compass needle. In the same year Johann Schweigger invented the
galvanometer A galvanometer is an electromechanical In engineering Engineering is the use of scientific method, scientific principles to design and build machines, structures, and other items, including bridges, tunnels, roads, vehicles, and b ...

galvanometer
, with a coil of wire around a compass, that could be used as a sensitive indicator for an electric current. Also that year,
André-Marie Ampère André-Marie Ampère (, ; ; 20 January 177510 June 1836) was a French physicist A physicist is a scientist A scientist is a person who conducts scientific research The scientific method is an Empirical evidence, empirical method o ...
suggested that telegraphy could be achieved by placing small magnets under the ends of a set of wires, one pair of wires for each letter of the alphabet. He was apparently unaware of Schweigger's invention at the time, which would have made his system much more sensitive. In 1825, Peter Barlow tried Ampère's idea but only got it to work over and declared it impractical. In 1830 William Ritchie improved on Ampère's design by placing the magnetic needles inside a coil of wire connected to each pair of conductors. He successfully demonstrated it, showing the feasibility of the electromagnetic telegraph, but only within a lecture hall. In 1825,
William Sturgeon William Sturgeon (22 May 1783 – 4 December 1850) was an England, English physicist and inventor who made the first electromagnets, and invented the first practical British electric motor. Early life Sturgeon was born on 22 May 1783 in Whit ...

William Sturgeon
invented the
electromagnet An electromagnet is a type of magnet A magnet is a material or object that produces a magnetic field A magnetic field is a vector field In vector calculus and physics, a vector field is an assignment of a vector to each poin ...

electromagnet
, with a single winding of uninsulated wire on a piece of varnished
iron Iron () is a chemical element In chemistry Chemistry is the study of the properties and behavior of . It is a that covers the that make up matter to the composed of s, s and s: their composition, structure, properties, behav ...

iron
, which increased the magnetic force produced by electric current.
Joseph Henry Joseph Henry (December 17, 1797 – May 13, 1878) was an American scientist who served as the first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution The Smithsonian Institution ( ), or simply, the Smithsonian, is a group of museums and educat ...

Joseph Henry
improved it in 1828 by placing several windings of insulated wire around the bar, creating a much more powerful electromagnet which could operate a telegraph through the high resistance of long telegraph wires. During his tenure at
The Albany Academy The Albany Academy is an independent college preparatory A college-preparatory school (shortened to preparatory school, prep school, or college prep) is a type of secondary school. The term can refer to state school, public, Independent school ...
from 1826 to 1832, Henry first demonstrated the theory of the 'magnetic telegraph' by ringing a bell through of wire strung around the room in 1831. In 1835,
Joseph Henry Joseph Henry (December 17, 1797 – May 13, 1878) was an American scientist who served as the first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution The Smithsonian Institution ( ), or simply, the Smithsonian, is a group of museums and educat ...

Joseph Henry
and
Edward Davy Edward Davy (16 June 1806 – 26 January 1885) was an English physician, scientist, and inventor who played a prominent role in the development of telegraphy Telegraphy is the long-distance transmission of messages where the sender uses s ...
independently invented the mercury dipping
electrical relay
electrical relay
, in which a magnetic needle is dipped into a pot of mercury when an electric current passes through the surrounding coil. In 1837, Davy invented the much more practical metallic make-and-break relay which became the relay of choice in telegraph systems and a key component allowing weak signals to be periodically renewed. Davy demonstrated his telegraph system in
Regent's Park Regent's Park (officially The Regent's Park) is one of the Royal Parks of London. It occupies high ground in north-west Inner London, administratively split between the City of Westminster and the London Borough of Camden, Borough of Camden (and ...

Regent's Park
in 1837 and was granted a patent on 4 July 1838. Davy also invented a printing telegraph which used the electric current from the telegraph signal to mark a ribbon of calico infused with
potassium iodide Potassium iodide is a chemical compound, Pharmaceutical drug, medication, and dietary supplement. As a medication it is used to treat hyperthyroidism, in radiation emergencies, and to protect the thyroid gland when certain types of radiopharmac ...

potassium iodide
and
calcium hypochlorite Calcium hypochlorite is an inorganic compound In chemistry Chemistry is the scientific discipline involved with Chemical element, elements and chemical compound, compounds composed of atoms, molecules and ions: their composition, structure, ...

calcium hypochlorite
.


First working systems

The first working telegraph was built by the English inventor
Francis Ronalds Sir Francis Ronalds FRS FRS may also refer to: Government and politics * Facility Registry System, a centrally managed Environmental Protection Agency database that identifies places of environmental interest in the United States * Family Re ...
in 1816 and used static electricity. At the family home on Hammersmith Mall, he set up a complete subterranean system in a long trench as well as an long overhead telegraph. The lines were connected at both ends to revolving dials marked with the letters of the alphabet and electrical impulses sent along the wire were used to transmit messages. Offering his invention to the
Admiralty Admiralty usually refers to: * Admiralty (United Kingdom), military department in command of the Royal Navy from 1707 to 1964 *The rank of admiral Admiral is one of the highest ranks in some navy, navies, and in many navies is the highest rank ...
in July 1816, it was rejected as "wholly unnecessary". His account of the scheme and the possibilities of rapid global communication in ''Descriptions of an Electrical Telegraph and of some other Electrical Apparatus'' was the first published work on electric telegraphy and even described the risk of signal retardation due to induction. Elements of Ronalds' design were utilised in the subsequent commercialisation of the telegraph over 20 years later. The Schilling telegraph, invented by Baron Schilling von Canstatt in 1832, was an early
needle telegraph A needle telegraph is an electrical telegraph An electrical telegraph is a point-to-point text messaging system, primarily used from the 1840s until the mid 20th century when it was slowly replaced by other telecommunication systems. It used ...
. It had a transmitting device that consisted of a keyboard with 16 black-and-white keys. These served for switching the electric current. The receiving instrument consisted of six
galvanometer A galvanometer is an electromechanical In engineering Engineering is the use of scientific method, scientific principles to design and build machines, structures, and other items, including bridges, tunnels, roads, vehicles, and b ...

galvanometer
s with magnetic needles, suspended from
silk Silk is a natural Nature, in the broadest sense, is the natural, physical, material world or universe The universe ( la, universus) is all of space and time and their contents, including planets, stars, galaxies, and all o ...

silk
threads. The two stations of Schilling's telegraph were connected by eight wires; six were connected with the galvanometers, one served for the return current and one for a signal bell. When at the starting station the operator pressed a key, the corresponding pointer was deflected at the receiving station. Different positions of black and white flags on different disks gave combinations which corresponded to the letters or numbers. Pavel Schilling subsequently improved its apparatus by reducing the number of connecting wires from eight to two. On 21 October 1832, Schilling managed a short-distance transmission of signals between two telegraphs in different rooms of his apartment. In 1836, the British government attempted to buy the design but Schilling instead accepted overtures from Nicholas I of Russia. Schilling's telegraph was tested on a experimental underground and underwater cable, laid around the building of the main Admiralty in Saint Petersburg and was approved for a telegraph between the imperial palace at Peterhof and the naval base at
Kronstadt Kronstadt (russian: Кроншта́дт, Kronštádt ), also spelled Kronshtadt, Cronstadt or Kronštádt (from german: link=no, Krone for "crown '' File:서봉총 금관 금제드리개.jpg, The Seobongchong Golden Crown of Ancient Sill ...

Kronstadt
. However, the project was cancelled following Schilling's death in 1837. Schilling was also one of the first to put into practice the idea of the
binary Binary may refer to: Science and technology Mathematics * Binary number In mathematics and digital electronics, a binary number is a number expressed in the base-2 numeral system or binary numeral system, which uses only two symbols: ty ...
system of signal transmission. His work was taken over and developed by
Moritz von Jacobi Moritz Hermann or Boris Semyonovich (von) Jacobi (russian: Борис Семёнович Якоби; 21 September 1801, Potsdam Potsdam () is the capital and largest city of the German state of Brandenburg Brandenburg (, also , ; nds, Br ...
who invented telegraph equipment that was used by Tsar
Alexander III
Alexander III
to connect the Imperial palace at
Tsarskoye Selo Tsarskoye Selo ( rus, Ца́рское Село́, p=ˈtsarskəɪ sʲɪˈlo, a=Ru_Tsarskoye_Selo.ogg, "Tsar , by Ivan Makarov Tsar ( or ), also spelled ''czar'', ''tzar'', or ''csar'', is a Royal and noble ranks, title used to designate ...
and Kronstadt Naval Base. In 1833,
Carl Friedrich Gauss Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss (; german: Gauß ; la, Carolus Fridericus Gauss; 30 April 177723 February 1855) was a German mathematician This is a List of German mathematician A mathematician is someone who uses an extensive knowledge of m ...

Carl Friedrich Gauss
, together with the physics professor
Wilhelm Weber
Wilhelm Weber
in
Göttingen Göttingen (, , ; nds, Chöttingen) is a university city in Lower Saxony Lower Saxony (german: Niedersachsen ; nds, Neddersassen; stq, Läichsaksen) is a German state The Federal Republic of Germany, as a federal state, consist ...
installed a wire above the town's roofs. Gauss combined the Poggendorff-Schweigger multiplicator with his magnetometer to build a more sensitive device, the
galvanometer A galvanometer is an electromechanical In engineering Engineering is the use of scientific method, scientific principles to design and build machines, structures, and other items, including bridges, tunnels, roads, vehicles, and b ...

galvanometer
. To change the direction of the electric current, he constructed a
commutator In mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers ( and ), formulas and related structures (), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (), and quantities and their changes ( and ). There is no gene ...
of his own. As a result, he was able to make the distant needle move in the direction set by the commutator on the other end of the line. At first, Gauss and Weber used the telegraph to coordinate time, but soon they developed other signals and finally, their own alphabet. The alphabet was encoded in a binary code that was transmitted by positive or negative voltage pulses which were generated by means of moving an induction coil up and down over a permanent magnet and connecting the coil with the transmission wires by means of the commutator. The page of Gauss' laboratory notebook containing both his code and the first message transmitted, as well as a replica of the telegraph made in the 1850s under the instructions of Weber are kept in the faculty of physics at the
University of Göttingen The University of Göttingen, officially the Georg August University of Göttingen, (german: Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, known informally as Georgia Augusta) is a public research university in the city of Göttingen, Germany. Founded i ...
, in Germany. Gauss was convinced that this communication would be a help to his kingdom's towns. Later in the same year, instead of a
Voltaic pile The voltaic pile was the first electrical battery A battery is a device consisting of one or more electrochemical cell An electrochemical cell is a device capable of either generating electrical energy from chemical reaction A che ...

Voltaic pile
, Gauss used an
induction Induction may refer to: Philosophy * Inductive reasoning, in logic, inferences from particular cases to the general case Biology and chemistry * Labor induction (birth/pregnancy) * Induction chemotherapy, in medicine * Induction period, the t ...

induction
pulse, enabling him to transmit seven letters a minute instead of two. The inventors and university did not have the funds to develop the telegraph on their own, but they received funding from
Alexander von Humboldt Friedrich Wilhelm Heinrich Alexander von Humboldt (14 September 17696 May 1859) was a , , , , and proponent of philosophy and . He was the younger brother of the Prussian minister, philosopher, and (1767–1835). Humboldt's quantitative work ...

Alexander von Humboldt
.
Carl August Steinheil
Carl August Steinheil
in
Munich Munich ( ; german: München ; bar, Minga ) is the capital and most populous city of Bavaria. With a population of 1,558,395 inhabitants as of 31 July 2020, it is the List of cities in Germany by population, third-largest city in Germany, ...

Munich
was able to build a telegraph network within the city in 1835–1836. He installed a telegraph line along the first German railroad in 1835. Steinheil built a telegraph along the Nuremberg - Fürth railway line in 1838, the first
earth-return telegraph Earth-return telegraph is the system whereby the return path for the electric current of a electrical telegraph, telegraph circuit is provided by connection to the Ground (electricity), earth through an earth electrode. Using earth return saves a ...
put into service. By 1837,
William Fothergill Cooke Sir William Fothergill Cooke (4 May 1806 – 25 June 1879) was an English inventor. He was, with Charles Wheatstone Sir Charles Wheatstone FRS FRSE DCL LLD (6 February 1802 – 19 October 1875), was an English scientist and inventor of ...
and
Charles Wheatstone Sir Charles Wheatstone FRS FRS may also refer to: Government and politics * Facility Registry System, a centrally managed Environmental Protection Agency database that identifies places of environmental interest in the United States * Famil ...
had co-developed a telegraph system which used a number of needles on a board that could be moved to point to letters of the alphabet. Any number of needles could be used, depending on the number of characters it was required to code. In May 1837 they patented their system. The patent recommended five needles, which coded twenty of the alphabet's 26 letters.
Samuel Morse Samuel Finley Breese Morse (April 27, 1791 – April 2, 1872) was an American inventor and painter. After having established his reputation as a portrait painter, in his middle age Morse contributed to the invention An invention is a uniq ...

Samuel Morse
independently developed and patented a recording electric telegraph in 1837. Morse's assistant
Alfred Vail Alfred Lewis Vail (September 25, 1807 – January 18, 1859) was an American machinist and inventor. Along with Samuel Morse, Vail was central in developing and commercializing American telegraphy between 1837 and 1844.
developed an instrument that was called the register for recording the received messages. It embossed dots and dashes on a moving paper tape by a stylus which was operated by an electromagnet. Morse and Vail developed the
Morse code Morse code is a method used in telecommunication Telecommunication is the transmission of information by various types of technologies over wire A wire is a single usually cylindrical A cylinder (from Greek Greek may refer to: ...
signalling
alphabet An alphabet is a standardized set of basic written symbols A symbol is a mark, sign, or word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semanti ...

alphabet
. The first telegram in the United States was sent by Morse on 11 January 1838, across of wire at Speedwell Ironworks near Morristown, New Jersey, although it was only later, in 1844, that he sent the message " WHAT HATH GOD WROUGHT" over the from the
Capitol A capitol is a building in which a legislature meets, including: Political authority of a territorial unit * United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. * Numerous List of state capitols in the United States, U.S. state and territorial capitols * ...

Capitol
in Washington to the old Mt. Clare Depot in
Baltimore Baltimore ( , locally: ) is the most populous city The United Nations uses three definitions for what constitutes a city, as not all cities in all jurisdictions are classified using the same criteria. Cities may be defined as the city prop ...

Baltimore
.


Commercial telegraphy


Cooke and Wheatstone system

The first commercial electrical telegraph was the Cooke and Wheatstone system. A demonstration four-needle system was installed on the Euston to
Camden Town Camden Town (), often shortened to Camden, is a district of northwest London, England, north of Charing Cross. Historically in Middlesex, it is the administrative centre of the London Borough of Camden, and identified in the London Plan#Activ ...

Camden Town
section of
Robert Stephenson Robert Stephenson Fellow of the Royal Society, FRS HFRSE FRSA Doctor of Civil Law, DCL (16 October 1803 – 12 October 1859) was an English civil engineer and designer of locomotives. The only son of George Stephenson, the "Father of Railways ...

Robert Stephenson
's
London and Birmingham Railway The London and Birmingham Railway (L&BR) was an early railway company in the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and ...
in 1837 for signalling rope-hauling of locomotives. It was rejected in favour of pneumatic whistles.Bowers, page 129 Cooke and Wheatstone had their first commercial success with a system installed on the
Great Western Railway The Great Western Railway (GWR) was a British railway company that linked London London is the and of and the . It stands on the in south-east England at the head of a down to the , and has been a major settlement for two millenni ...
over the from
Paddington station Paddington, also known as London Paddington, is a Central London railway terminus and London Underground The London Underground (also known simply as the Underground, or by its nickname the Tube) is a rapid transit system serving Greater Lon ...

Paddington station
to
West Drayton West Drayton is a suburban town in the London Borough of Hillingdon. It was an ancient parish in the county of Middlesex and from 1929 was part of the Yiewsley and West Drayton Urban District, which became part of Greater London in 1965. The se ...
in 1838. This was a five-needle, six-wire system. This system suffered from failing insulation on the underground cables. When the line was extended to
Slough Slough () is a large town in Berkshire Berkshire ( ; in the 17th century sometimes spelt phonetically as Barkeshire; abbreviated Berks.) is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other pu ...

Slough
in 1843, the telegraph was converted to a one-needle, two-wire system with uninsulated wires on poles. The one-needle telegraph proved highly successful on British railways, and 15,000 sets were still in use at the end of the nineteenth century. Some remained in service in the 1930s. The
Electric Telegraph Company The Electric Telegraph Company (ETC) was a British telegraph Telegraphy is the long-distance transmission of messages where the sender uses symbolic codes, known to the recipient, rather than a physical exchange of an object bearing th ...
, the world's first public telegraphy company was formed in 1845 by financier John Lewis Ricardo and Cooke.


Wheatstone ABC telegraph

Wheatstone developed a practical alphabetical system in 1840 called the A.B.C. System, used mostly on private wires. This consisted of a "communicator" at the sending end and an "indicator" at the receiving end. The communicator consisted of a circular dial with a pointer and the 26 letters of the alphabet (and four punctuation marks) around its circumference. Against each letter was a key that could be pressed. A transmission would begin with the pointers on the dials at both ends set to the start position. The transmitting operator would then press down the key corresponding to the letter to be transmitted. In the base of the communicator was a
magneto A magneto is an electrical generator In electricity generation Electricity generation is the process of generating electric power from sources of primary energy. For electric utility, utilities in the electric power industry, it is the stage ...
actuated by a handle on the front. This would be turned to apply an alternating voltage to the line. Each half cycle of the current would move the pointers at both ends on by one position. When the pointer reached the position of the depressed key, it would stop and the magneto would be disconnected from the line. The communicator's pointer was geared to the magneto mechanism. The indicator's pointer was moved by a polarised electromagnet whose
armature Armature may refer to: * Armature (computer animation), kinematic chain used in computer animation to simulate the motions of virtual characters * Armature (electrical), one of the two principal electrical components of an electromechanical machine ...
was coupled to it through an
escapement An escapement is a mechanical linkage in mechanical watches and clocks that gives impulses to the timekeeping element and periodically releases the gear train to move forward, advancing the clock's hands. The impulse action transfers energy to ...

escapement
. Thus the alternating line voltage moved the indicator's pointer on to the position of the depressed key on the communicator. Pressing another key would then release the pointer and the previous key, and re-connect the magneto to the line. These machines were very robust and simple to operate, and they stayed in use in Britain until well into the 20th century.


Morse system

In 1851, a conference in Vienna of countries in the German-Austrian Telegraph Union (which included many central European countries) adopted the Morse telegraph as the system for international communications. The
international Morse code Morse code is a method used in telecommunication to Character encoding, encode Written language, text characters as standardized sequences of two different signal durations, called ''dots'' and ''dashes'', or ''dits'' and ''dahs''. Morse cod ...

international Morse code
adopted was considerably modified from the original American Morse code, and was based on a code used on Hamburg railways ( Gerke, 1848). A common code was a necessary step to allow direct telegraph connection between countries. With different codes, additional operators were required to translate and retransmit the message. In 1865, a conference in Paris adopted Gerke's code as the International Morse code and was henceforth the international standard. The US, however, continued to use American Morse code internally for some time, hence international messages required retransmission in both directions. In the United States, the Morse/Vail telegraph was quickly deployed in the two decades following the first demonstration in 1844. The
overland telegraph The Australian Overland Telegraph Line was a telegraph Telegraphy is the long-distance transmission of textual messages where the sender uses a semaphore system, known to the recipient, rather than a physical exchange of an object beari ...
connected the west coast of the continent to the east coast by 24 October 1861, bringing an end to the
Pony Express #REDIRECT Pony Express#REDIRECT Pony Express The Pony Express was a mail service delivering messages, newspapers, and mail using relays of horse-mounted riders that operated from April 3, 1860, to October 26, 1861, between Missouri Missou ...

Pony Express
.


Foy–Breguet system

France was slow to adopt the electrical telegraph, because of the extensive
optical telegraph An optical telegraph is a line of stations, typically towers, for the purpose of conveying textual information by means of visual signals. There are two main types of such systems; the semaphore telegraph which uses pivoted indicator arms and ...

optical telegraph
system built during the
Napoleonic era The Napoleonic era is a period in the history of France The first written records for the history of France appeared in the Iron Age The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age system, three-age division of the prehistor ...
. There was also serious concern that an electrical telegraph could be quickly put out of action by enemy saboteurs, something that was much more difficult to do with optical telegraphs which had no exposed hardware between stations. The Foy-Breguet telegraph was eventually adopted. This was a two-needle system using two signal wires but displayed in a uniquely different way to other needle telegraphs. The needles made symbols similar to the Chappe optical system symbols, making it more familiar to the telegraph operators. The optical system was decommissioned starting in 1846, but not completely until 1855. In that year the Foy-Breguet system was replaced with the Morse system.


Expansion

As well as the rapid expansion of the use of the telegraphs along the railways, they soon spread into the field of mass communication with the instruments being installed in
post office A post office is a public facility that provides mail The mail or post is a system for physically transporting postcard A postcard or post card is a piece of thick paper or thin Card stock, cardboard, typically rectangular, intended fo ...

post office
s. The era of mass personal communication had begun. Telegraph networks were expensive to build, but financing was readily available, especially from London bankers. By 1852, National systems were in operation in major countries: The New York and Mississippi Valley Printing Telegraph Company, for example, was created in 1852 in Rochester, New York and eventually became the . Although many countries had telegraph networks, there was no ''worldwide'' interconnection. Message by post was still the primary means of communication to countries outside Europe.


Telegraphic improvements

A continuing goal in telegraphy was to reduce the cost per message by reducing hand-work, or increasing the sending rate. There were many experiments with moving pointers, and various electrical encodings. However, most systems were too complicated and unreliable. A successful expedient to reduce the cost per message was the development of
telegraphese 300px, This telegram was sent by Orville Wright in December 1903 from Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, following the first successful airplane flight. Telegram style, telegraph style, telegraphic style, or telegraphese is a clipped way of writing whic ...
. The first system that did not require skilled technicians to operate was Charles Wheatstone's ABC system in 1840 in which the letters of the alphabet were arranged around a clock-face, and the signal caused a needle to indicate the letter. This early system required the receiver to be present in real time to record the message and it reached speeds of up to 15 words a minute. In 1846,
Alexander Bain Alexander Bain (11 June 1818 – 18 September 1903) was a Scottish philosopher and educationalist in the British school of empiricism and a prominent and innovative figure in the fields of psychology Psychology is the science of min ...
patented a chemical telegraph in Edinburgh. The signal current moved an iron pen across a moving paper tape soaked in a mixture of ammonium nitrate and potassium ferrocyanide, decomposing the chemical and producing readable blue marks in Morse code. The speed of the printing telegraph was 16 and a half words per minute, but messages still required translation into English by live copyists. Chemical telegraphy came to an end in the US in 1851, when the Morse group defeated the Bain patent in the US District Court. For a brief period, starting with the New York–Boston line in 1848, some telegraph networks began to employ sound operators, who were trained to understand Morse code aurally. Gradually, the use of sound operators eliminated the need for telegraph receivers to include register and tape. Instead, the receiving instrument was developed into a "sounder", an electromagnet that was energized by a current and attracted a small iron lever. When the sounding key was opened or closed, the sounder lever struck an anvil. The Morse operator distinguished a dot and a dash by the short or long interval between the two clicks. The message was then written out in long-hand.
Royal Earl House Royal Earl House (9 September 181425 February 1895) was the inventor of the first printing telegraph, which is now kept in the Smithsonian Institution. His nephew Henry Alonzo House is also a noted early American inventor. Royal Earl House spent ...
developed and patented a letter-printing telegraph system in 1846 which employed an alphabetic keyboard for the transmitter and automatically printed the letters on paper at the receiver, and followed this up with a steam-powered version in 1852. Advocates of printing telegraphy said it would eliminate Morse operators' errors. The House machine was used on four main American telegraph lines by 1852. The speed of the House machine was announced as 2600 words an hour.
David Edward Hughes David Edward Hughes (16 May 1831 – 22 January 1900), was a British-American inventor, practical experimenter, and professor of music known for his work on the printing telegraph and the microphone A microphone, colloquially called ...

David Edward Hughes
invented the printing telegraph in 1855; it used a keyboard of 26 keys for the alphabet and a spinning type wheel that determined the letter being transmitted by the length of time that had elapsed since the previous transmission. The system allowed for automatic recording on the receiving end. The system was very stable and accurate and became accepted around the world. The next improvement was the
Baudot code The Baudot code is an early character encoding Character encoding is the process of assigning numbers to Graphics, graphical character (computing), characters, especially the written characters of Language, human language, allowing them to b ...
of 1874. French engineer
Émile Baudot Jean-Maurice-Émile Baudot (; 11 September 1845 – 28 March 1903), French telegraph Telegraphy is the long-distance transmission of messages where the sender uses symbolic codes, known to the recipient, rather than a physical exchange o ...
patented a printing telegraph in which the signals were translated automatically into typographic characters. Each character was assigned a five-bit code, mechanically interpreted from the state of five on/off switches. Operators had to maintain a steady rhythm, and the usual speed of operation was 30 words per minute. By this point, reception had been automated, but the speed and accuracy of the transmission were still limited to the skill of the human operator. The first practical automated system was patented by Charles Wheatstone. The message (in
Morse code Morse code is a method used in telecommunication Telecommunication is the transmission of information by various types of technologies over wire A wire is a single usually cylindrical A cylinder (from Greek Greek may refer to: ...
) was typed onto a piece of perforated tape using a keyboard-like device called the 'Stick Punch'. The transmitter automatically ran the tape through and transmitted the message at the then exceptionally high speed of 70 words per minute.


Teleprinters

An early successful
teleprinter A teleprinter (teletypewriter, teletype or TTY) is an electromechanical device that can be used to send and receive typed messages through various communications channels, in both point-to-point (telecommunications), point-to-point and point- ...
was invented by Frederick G. Creed. In
Glasgow Glasgow ( ; sco, Glesga; gd, Glaschu) is the most populous city A city is a large .Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia'' ...

Glasgow
he created his first keyboard perforator, which used compressed air to punch the holes. He also created a reperforator (receiving perforator) and a printer. The reperforator punched incoming Morse signals onto paper tape and the printer decoded this tape to produce alphanumeric characters on plain paper. This was the origin of the Creed High Speed Automatic Printing System, which could run at an unprecedented 200 words per minute. His system was adopted by the ''
Daily Mail The ''Daily Mail'' is a British daily Middle-market newspaper, middle-market newspaper and online newspaper, news websitePeter Wilb"Paul Dacre of the Daily Mail: The man who hates liberal Britain", ''New Statesman'', 19 December 2013 (online ...
'' for daily transmission of the newspaper contents. With the invention of the
teletypewriter A teleprinter (teletypewriter, teletype or TTY) is an electromechanical In engineering Engineering is the use of scientific principles to design and build machines, structures, and other items, including bridges, tunnels, roads, ...
, telegraphic encoding became fully automated. Early teletypewriters used the ITA-1
Baudot code The Baudot code is an early character encoding Character encoding is the process of assigning numbers to Graphics, graphical character (computing), characters, especially the written characters of Language, human language, allowing them to b ...
, a five-bit code. This yielded only thirty-two codes, so it was over-defined into two "shifts", "letters" and "figures". An explicit, unshared shift code prefaced each set of letters and figures. In 1901, Baudot's code was modified by Donald Murray. In the 1930s, teleprinters were produced by
Teletype A teleprinter (teletypewriter, teletype or TTY) is an electromechanical device that can be used to send and receive typed messages through various communications channels, in both point-to-point (telecommunications), point-to-point and point-t ...
in the US,
Creed A creed, also known as a confession of faith, symbol, or statement of faith, is a statement of the shared belief A belief is an attitude Attitude may refer to: Philosophy and psychology * Attitude (psychology) In psychology ...
in Britain and
Siemens Siemens AG ( ) is a German multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational state, ...

Siemens
in Germany. By 1935, message routing was the last great barrier to full automation. Large telegraphy providers began to develop systems that used to connect teletypewriters. These resulting systems were called "Telex" (TELegraph EXchange). Telex machines first performed rotary-telephone-style
pulse dialling model 500 rotary dial telephone was a pulse-dialing instrument. Pulse dialing is a Signaling (telecommunication), signaling technology in telecommunications in which a direct current local loop circuit is interrupted according to a defined codi ...
for
circuit switching Circuit switching is a method of implementing a telecommunications network A telecommunications network is a group of nodes In general, a node is a localized swelling (a "knot") or a point of intersection (a Vertex (graph theory), vertex). Nod ...
, and then sent data by
ITA2 The Baudot code is an early character encoding for telegraphy invented by Émile Baudot in the 1870s. It was the predecessor to the International Telegraph Alphabet No. 2 (ITA2), the most common teleprinter code in use until the advent of ASCII. ...

ITA2
. This "type A" Telex routing functionally automated message routing. The first wide-coverage Telex network was implemented in Germany during the 1930s as a network used to communicate within the government. At the rate of 45.45 (±0.5%)
baud In telecommunication Telecommunication is the transmission of information by various types of technologies over wire A wire is a single usually cylindrical A cylinder (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or r ...

baud
– considered speedy at the time – up to 25 telex channels could share a single long-distance telephone channel by using '' voice frequency telegraphy
multiplexing In telecommunications Telecommunication is the transmission of information by various types of technologies over , radio, , or other systems. It has its origin in the desire of humans for communication over a distance greater than that ...
'', making telex the least expensive method of reliable long-distance communication. Automatic teleprinter exchange service was introduced into Canada by CPR Telegraphs and CN Telegraph in July 1957 and in 1958,
Western Union The Western Union Company is an American multinational financial services Financial services are the economic services provided by the finance Finance is a term for the management, creation, and study of money In a 1786 James ...

Western Union
started to build a Telex network in the United States.


The harmonic telegraph

The most expensive aspect of a telegraph system was the installation – the laying of the wire, which was often very long. The costs would be better covered by finding a way to send more than one message at a time through the single wire, thus increasing revenue per wire. Early devices included the duplex and the Quadruplex telegraph, quadruplex which allowed, respectively, one or two telegraph transmissions in each direction. However, an even greater number of channels was desired on the busiest lines. In the latter half of the 1800s, several inventors worked towards creating a method for doing just that, including Charles Bourseul, Thomas Edison, Elisha Gray, and Alexander Graham Bell. One approach was to have resonators of several different frequencies act as carriers of a modulated on-off signal. This was the harmonic telegraph, a form of Multiplexing#Frequency-division multiplexing, frequency-division multiplexing. These various frequencies, referred to as harmonics, could then be combined into one complex signal and sent down the single wire. On the receiving end, the frequencies would be separated with a matching set of resonators. With a set of frequencies being carried down a single wire, it was realized that the human voice itself could be transmitted electrically through the wire. This effort led to the invention of the telephone. (While the work toward packing multiple telegraph signals onto one wire led to telephony, later advances would pack multiple voice signals onto one wire by increasing the bandwidth by modulating frequencies much higher than human hearing. Eventually, the bandwidth was widened much further by using laser light signals sent through fiber optic cables. Fiber optic transmission can carry 25,000 telephone signals simultaneously down a single fiber.)


Oceanic telegraph cables

Soon after the first successful telegraph systems were operational, the possibility of transmitting messages across the sea by way of submarine communications cables was first proposed. One of the primary technical challenges was to sufficiently insulate the submarine cable to prevent the electric current from leaking out into the water. In 1842, a Scottish surgeon William Montgomerie introduced gutta-percha, the adhesive juice of the ''Palaquium gutta'' tree, to Europe. Michael Faraday and Wheatstone soon discovered the merits of gutta-percha as an insulator, and in 1845, the latter suggested that it should be employed to cover the wire which was proposed to be laid from Dover to Calais. Gutta-percha was used as insulation on a wire laid across the Rhine between Cologne-Deutz, Deutz and Cologne. In 1849, C. V. Walker, electrician to the South Eastern Railway (UK), South Eastern Railway, submerged a wire coated with gutta-percha off the coast from Folkestone, which was tested successfully. John Watkins Brett, an engineer from Bristol, sought and obtained permission from Louis-Philippe in 1847 to establish telegraph, telegraphic communication between France and England. The first undersea cable was laid in 1850, connecting the two countries and was followed by connections to Ireland and the Low Countries. The Atlantic Telegraph Company was formed in London in 1856 to undertake to construct a commercial telegraph cable across the Atlantic Ocean. It was successfully completed on 18 July 1866 by the ship SS Great Eastern, SS ''Great Eastern'', captained by Sir James Anderson, after many mishaps along the away. John Pender, one of the men on the Great Eastern, later founded several telecommunications companies primarily laying cables between Britain and Southeast Asia. Earlier transatlantic submarine communications cable, submarine cables installations were attempted in 1857, 1858 and 1865. The 1857 cable only operated intermittently for a few days or weeks before it failed. The study of underwater telegraph cables accelerated interest in mathematical analysis of very long transmission lines. The telegraph lines from Britain to India were connected in 1870. (Those several companies combined to form the ''Eastern Telegraph Company'' in 1872.) The HMS ''Challenger'' expedition in 1873–1876 mapped the ocean floor for future underwater telegraph cables. Australia was first linked to the rest of the world in October 1872 by a submarine telegraph cable at Darwin. This brought news reports from the rest of the world. The telegraph across the Pacific was completed in 1902, finally encircling the world. From the 1850s until well into the 20th century, British submarine cable systems dominated the world system. This was set out as a formal strategic goal, which became known as the All Red Line. In 1896, there were thirty cable laying ships in the world and twenty-four of them were owned by British companies. In 1892, British companies owned and operated two-thirds of the world's cables and by 1923, their share was still 42.7 percent.


Cable and Wireless Company

Cable & Wireless plc, Cable & Wireless was a British telecommunications company that traced its origins back to the 1860s, with Sir John Pender as the founder, although the name was only adopted in 1934. It was formed from successive mergers including: *The Falmouth, Malta, Gibraltar Telegraph Company *The British Indian Submarine Telegraph Company *The Marseilles, Algiers and Malta Telegraph Company *The Eastern Telegraph Company *The Eastern Extension Australasia and China Telegraph Company *The Eastern and Associated Telegraph Companies


Telegraphy and longitude

Main article § Section: . The telegraph was very important for sending time signals to determine longitude, providing greater accuracy than previously available. Longitude was measured by comparing local time (for example local noon occurs when the sun is at its highest above the horizon) with absolute time (a time that is the same for an observer anywhere on earth). If the local times of two places differ by one hour, the difference in longitude between them is 15° (360°/24h). Before telegraphy, absolute time could be obtained from astronomical events, such as eclipses, occultations or Lunar distance (navigation), lunar distances, or by transporting an accurate clock (a Marine chronometer, chronometer) from one location to the other. The idea of using the telegraph to transmit a time signal for longitude determination was suggested by François Arago to
Samuel Morse Samuel Finley Breese Morse (April 27, 1791 – April 2, 1872) was an American inventor and painter. After having established his reputation as a portrait painter, in his middle age Morse contributed to the invention An invention is a uniq ...

Samuel Morse
in 1837, and the first test of this idea was made by Charles Wilkes, Capt. Wilkes of the U.S. Navy in 1844, over Morse's line between Washington and Baltimore. The method was soon in practical use for longitude determination, in particular by the U.S. Coast Survey, and over longer and longer distances as the telegraph network spread across North America and the world, and as technical developments improved accuracy and productivity The "telegraphic longitude net" soon became worldwide. Transatlantic links between Europe and North America were established in 1866 and 1870. The US Navy extended observations into the West Indies and Central and South America with an additional transatlantic link from South America to Lisbon between 1874 and 1890. British, Russian and US observations created a chain from Europe through Suez, Aden, Madras, Singapore, China and Japan, to Vladivostok, thence to Saint Petersburg and back to Western Europe. Australia was linked to Singapore via Java in 1871 and the web circled the globe in 1902 with the connection of Australia and New Zealand to Canada via the All Red Line. The double determination of longitudes from east to west and from west to east agreed within one second of arc ( second of time – less than 30 metres).


Telegraphy in war

The ability to send telegrams brought obvious advantages to those conducting war. Secret messages were encoded, so interception alone would not be sufficient for the opposing side to gain an advantage. There were also geographical constraints on intercepting the telegraph cables that improved security, however once radio telegraphy was developed interception became far more widespread.


Crimean War

The Crimean War was one of the first conflicts to use Telegraphy, telegraphs and was one of the first to be documented extensively. In 1854, the government in London created a military Telegraph Detachment for the Army commanded by an officer of the Royal Engineers. It was to comprise twenty-five men from the Royal Corps of Sappers & Miners trained by the Electric Telegraph Company to construct and work the first field electric telegraph. Journalistic recording of the war was provided by William Howard Russell (writing for ''The Times'' newspaper) with photographs by Roger Fenton. News from war correspondents kept the public of the nations involved in the war informed of the day-to-day events in a way that had not been possible in any previous war. After the French extended the telegraph to the coast of the Black Sea in late 1854, the news reached London in two days. When the British laid an underwater cable to the Crimean peninsula in April 1855, news reached London in a few hours. The daily news reports energised public opinion, which brought down the government and led to Lord Palmerston becoming prime minister.


American Civil War

During the American Civil War the telegraph proved its value as a tactical, operational, and strategic communication medium and an important contributor to Union victory. By contrast the Confederacy failed to make effective use of the South's much smaller telegraph network. Prior to the War the telegraph systems were primarily used in the commercial sector. Government buildings were not inter-connected with telegraph lines, but relied on runners to carry messages back and forth. Before the war the Government saw no need to connect lines within city limits, however, they did see the use in connections between cities. Washington D.C. being the hub of government, it had the most connections, but there were only a few lines running north and south out of the city. It wasn't until the Civil War that the government saw the true potential of the telegraph system. Soon after the shelling of Fort Sumter, the South cut telegraph lines running into D.C., which put the city in a state of panic because they feared an immediate Southern invasion. Within 6 months of the start of the war, the U.S. Military Telegraph Corps (USMT) had laid approximately of line. By war's end they had laid approximately of line, 8,000 for military and 5,000 for commercial use, and had handled approximately 6.5 million messages. The telegraph was not only important for communication within the armed forces, but also in the civilian sector, helping political leaders to maintain control over their districts. Even before the war, the American Telegraph Company censored suspect messages informally to block aid to the secession movement. During the war, United States Secretary of War, Secretary of War Simon Cameron, and later Edwin Stanton, wanted control over the telegraph lines to maintain the flow of information. Early in the war, one of Stanton's first acts as Secretary of War was to move telegraph lines from ending at George B. McClellan, McClellan's headquarters to terminating at the War Department. Stanton himself said "[telegraphy] is my right arm". Telegraphy assisted Northern victories, including the Battle of Antietam (1862), the Battle of Chickamauga (1863), and Sherman's March to the Sea (1864). The telegraph system still had its flaws. The USMT, while the main source of telegraphers and cable, was still a civilian agency. Most operators were first hired by the telegraph companies and then contracted out to the War Department. This created tension between Generals and their operators. One source of irritation was that USMT operators did not have to follow military authority. Usually they performed without hesitation, but they were not required to, so Albert J. Myer, Albert Myer created a Signal Corps (United States Army), U.S. Army Signal Corps in February 1863. As the new head of the Signal Corps, Myer tried to get all telegraph and flag signaling under his command, and therefore subject to military discipline. After creating the Signal Corps, Myer pushed to further develop new telegraph systems. While the USMT relied primarily on civilian lines and operators, the Signal Corp's new field telegraph could be deployed and dismantled faster than USMT's system.


First World War

During World War I, Britain's telegraph communications were almost completely uninterrupted, while it was able to quickly cut Germany's cables worldwide. The British government censored telegraph cable companies in an effort to root out espionage and restrict financial transactions with Central Powers nations. British access to transatlantic cables and its codebreaking expertise led to the Zimmermann Telegram incident that contributed to the US joining the war. Despite British acquisition of German colonies and expansion into the Middle East, debt from the war led to Britain's control over telegraph cables to weaken while US control grew.


Second World War

World War II revived the 'cable war' of 1914–1918. In 1939, German-owned cables across the Atlantic were cut once again, and, in 1940, Italian cables to South America and Spain were cut in retaliation for Italian action against two of the five British cables linking Gibraltar and Malta. Electra House, Cable & Wireless's head office and central cable station, was damaged by German bombing in 1941. Resistance during World War II, Resistance movements in occupied Europe sabotaged communications facilities such as telegraph lines, forcing the Germans to use wireless telegraphy, which could then be Y-stations, intercepted by Britain. The Germans developed a highly complex teleprinter attachment (German: ''Schlüssel-Zusatz'', "cipher attachment") that was used for enciphering telegrams, using the Lorenz cipher, between German High Command (Oberkommando der Wehrmacht, OKW) and the army groups in the field. These contained situation reports, battle plans, and discussions of strategy and tactics. Britain intercepted these signals, diagnosed how the encrypting machine worked, and Cryptanalysis of the Lorenz cipher, decrypted a large amount of teleprinter traffic.


End of the telegraph era

In America, the end of the telegraph era can be associated with the fall of the . Western Union was the leading telegraph provider for America and was seen as the best competition for the Bell Telephone Company, National Bell Telephone Company. Western Union and Bell were both invested in telegraphy and telephone technology. Western Union's decision to allow Bell to gain the advantage in telephone technology was the result of Western Union's upper management's failure to foresee the surpassing of the telephone over the, at the time, dominant telegraph system. Western Union soon lost the legal battle for the rights to their telephone copyrights. This led to Western Union agreeing to a lesser position in the telephone competition, which in turn led to the lessening of the telegraph. While the telegraph was not the focus of the legal battles that occurred around 1878, the companies that were affected by the effects of the battle were the main powers of telegraphy at the time. Western Union thought that the agreement of 1878 would solidify telegraphy as the long-range communication of choice. However, due to the underestimates of telegraph's future and poor contracts, Western Union found itself declining. AT&T acquired working control of Western Union in 1909 but relinquished it in 1914 under threat of antitrust action. AT&T bought Western Union's electronic mail and Telex businesses in 1990. Although commercial "telegraph" services are still available in Worldwide use of telegrams by country, many countries, transmission is usually done via a computer network rather than a dedicated wired connection.


See also

* 92 Code * Aurora (astronomy)#Auroral events of historical significance, Aurora (astronomy) * American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T) * Bell Canada * Geomagnetically induced current * Great Northern Telegraph Company * Harrison Gray Dyar, who supposedly erected the first telegraph line and dispatched the first telegram * Neutral direct-current telegraph system * Western Electric Company


References


Bibliography

* *Bowers, Brian, ''Sir Charles Wheatstone: 1802–1875'', IET, 2001 . * * * * * * * Holzmann, Gerard J.; Pehrson, Björn, ''The Early History of Data Networks'', Wiley, 1995 . * * Attributed to * *. *Mercer, David, ''The Telephone: The Life Story of a Technology'', Greenwood Publishing Group, 2006 . *


Further reading

* Cooke, W.F., ''The Electric Telegraph, Was it invented by Prof. Wheatstone?'', London 1856. * * Gauß, C. F., ''Works'', Göttingen 1863–1933. * Howe, Daniel Walker, ''What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815–1848'', Oxford University Press, 2007 . * Peterson, M.J
Roots of Interconnection: Communications, Transportation and Phases of the Industrial Revolution
International Dimensions of Ethics Education in Science and Engineering Background Reading, Version 1; February 2008. * Steinheil, C.A., ''Ueber Telegraphie'', München 1838. * Yates, JoAnne
The Telegraph's Effect on Nineteenth Century Markets and Firms
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, pp. 149–163.


External links


Morse Telegraph Club, Inc.
(The Morse Telegraph Club is an international non-profit organization dedicated to the perpetuation of the knowledge and traditions of telegraphy.) * https://web.archive.org/web/20050829153213/http://collections.ic.gc.ca/canso/index.htm
Shilling's telegraph
an exhibit of the A.S. Popov Central Museum of Communications
History of electromagnetic telegraph






article in ''PCWeek'', Russian edition.
Distant Writing
– The History of the Telegraph Companies in Britain between 1838 and 1868

NASA 6 May 2008
How Cables Unite The World
– a 1902 article about telegraph networks and technology from the magazine ''The World's Work'' *
Indiana telegraph and telephone collection
Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library *
Wonders of electricity and the elements, being a popular account of modern electrical and magnetic discoveries, magnetism and electric machines, the electric telegraph and the electric light, and the metal bases, salt, and acids
' fro
Science History Institute Digital Collections
*
The electro magnetic telegraph: with an historical account of its rise, progress, and present condition
' fro
Science History Institute Digital Collections
{{Authority control Telegraphy Russian inventions 19th-century inventions Western (genre) staples and terminology, Telegraph sl:Telegraf fi:Lennätin zh:电报