TELEGRAPHY (from Greek : τῆλε têle, "at a distance" and
γράφειν gráphein, "to write") is the long-distance
transmission of textual or symbolic (as opposed to verbal or audio)
messages without the physical exchange of an object bearing the
message. Thus semaphore is a method of telegraphy, whereas pigeon post
Telegraphy requires that the method used for encoding the message be
known to both sender and receiver. Many methods are designed according
to the limits of the signalling medium used. The use of smoke signals
, beacons , reflected light signals, and flag semaphore signals are
early examples. In the 19th century, the harnessing of electricity led
to the invention of electrical telegraphy . The advent of radio in the
early 20th century brought about radiotelegraphy and other forms of
wireless telegraphy . In the
Internet age, telegraphic means developed
greatly in sophistication and ease of use, with natural language
interfaces that hide the underlying code, allowing such technologies
as electronic mail and instant messaging .
* 1 Terminology
* 2 History
* 2.2 Electrical telegraphs
* 2.2.1 Early developments
* 3 Commercial telegraphy
* 3.1 Cooke and Wheatstone system
* 3.2 Morse system
* 4 Telegraphic improvements
* 4.1 Teleprinters
* 4.2 Oceanic telegraph cables
* 5 Later technology
* 5.1 Facsimile
* 6 21st-century decline
* 7 Social implications
* 8 Newspaper names
* 9 Telegram length
* 10 See also
* 11 References
* 12 Further reading
* 12.1 Technology
* 13 External links
The word "telegraph" was first coined by the French inventor of the
Semaphore line ,
Claude Chappe , who also coined the word "semaphore".
A "telegraph" is a device for transmitting and receiving messages
over long distances, i.e., for telegraphy. The word "telegraph" alone
now generally refers to an electrical telegraph .
Wireless telegraphy is also known as "CW", for continuous wave (a
carrier modulated by on-off keying ), as opposed to the earlier radio
technique of using a spark gap .
Contrary to the extensive definition used by Chappe, Morse argued
that the term telegraph can strictly be applied only to systems that
transmit and record messages at a distance. This is to be
distinguished from semaphore, which merely transmits messages. Smoke
signals, for instance, are to be considered semaphore, not telegraph.
According to Morse, telegraph dates only from 1832 when Pavel
Schilling invented one of the earliest electrical telegraphs.
A telegraph message sent by an electrical telegraph operator or
Morse code (or a printing telegraph operator using
plain text) was known as a telegram. A cablegram was a message sent by
a submarine telegraph cable, often shortened to a cable or a wire.
Telex was a message sent by a
Telex network, a switched
network of teleprinters similar to a telephone network.
A wire picture or wire photo was a newspaper picture that was sent
from a remote location by a facsimile telegraph . A diplomatic
telegram, also known as a diplomatic cable , is the term given to a
confidential communication between a diplomatic mission and the
foreign ministry of its parent country. These continue to be called
telegrams or cables regardless of the method used for transmission.
Even though early telegraphic precedents, such as signalling through
the lighting of pyres, have existed since ancient times, long-distance
telegraphy (transmission of complex messages) started in 1792 in the
form of semaphore lines , or optical telegraphs, that sent messages to
a distant observer through line-of-sight signals. Commercial
electrical telegraphs were introduced from 1837.
Semaphore line and
Flag semaphore Construction
schematic of a Prussian optical telegraph (or semaphore ) tower, C.
The first telegraphs came in the form of optical telegraph ,
including the use of smoke signals , beacons , or reflected light ,
which have existed since ancient times. Early proposals for an optical
telegraph system were made to the
Royal Society by
Robert Hooke in
1684 and were first implemented on an experimental level by Sir
Richard Lovell Edgeworth in 1767.
The first successful semaphore network was invented by Claude Chappe
and operated in
France from 1793 to 1846. Demonstration of the
During 1790–1795, at the height of the
French Revolution , France
needed a swift and reliable communication system to thwart the war
efforts of its enemies. In 1790, the Chappe brothers set about
devising a system of communication that would allow the central
government to receive intelligence and to transmit orders in the
shortest possible time. On 2 March 1791, at 11 am, they sent the
message "si vous réussissez, vous serez bientôt couverts de gloire"
(If you succeed, you will soon bask in glory) between Brulon and
Parce, a distance of 16 kilometres (9.9 mi). The first means used a
combination of black and white panels, clocks, telescopes, and
codebooks to send their message.
In 1792, Claude was appointed Ingénieur-Télégraphiste and charged
with establishing a line of stations between
Lille , a
distance of 230 kilometres (about 143 miles). It was used to carry
dispatches for the war between
France and Austria. In 1794, it brought
news of a French capture of Condé-sur-l\'Escaut from the Austrians
less than an hour after it occurred.
The Prussian system was put into effect in the 1830s. However, they
were highly dependent on good weather and daylight to work and even
then could accommodate only about two words per minute. The last
commercial semaphore link ceased operation in Sweden in 1880. As of
France still operated coastal commercial semaphore telegraph
stations, for ship-to-shore communication.
Electrical telegraph § First working systems
The first suggestion for using electricity as a means of
communication appeared in the "Scots Magazine" in 1753. 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 balls at the far end. 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
One very early experiment in electrical telegraphy was an
electrochemical telegraph created by the German physician, anatomist,
Samuel Thomas von Sömmering in 1809, based on an
earlier, less robust design of 1804 by Spanish polymath and scientist
Francisco Salva Campillo . Both their designs employed multiple wires
(up to 35) in order to visually represent most 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. As an
electric current was applied by the sender representing each digit of
a message, it would at the recipient's end electrolyse the acid in its
corresponding tube, releasing a stream of hydrogen bubbles next to its
associated letter or numeral. The telegraph receiver's operator would
visually observe the bubbles and could then record the transmitted
message, albeit at a very low baud rate.
The first working telegraph was built by the English inventor Francis
Ronalds in 1816 and used static electricity. At the family home on
Hammersmith Mall , he set up a complete subterranean system in a
175-yard long trench as well as an eight-mile long overhead telegraph.
The lines were connected at both ends to clocks 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 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.
Pavel Schilling , an early pioneer of electrical telegraphy
An early electromagnetic telegraph design was created by Russian
Pavel Schilling in 1832. He set it up in his apartment in
St. Petersburg and demonstrated the long-distance transmission of
signals by positioning two telegraphs of his invention in two
different rooms of his apartment. Schilling was the first to put into
practice the idea of a binary system of signal transmissions .
Carl Friedrich Gauss
Carl Friedrich Gauss and Wilhelm Weber built the first
electromagnetic telegraph used for regular communication in 1833 in
Göttingen , connecting
Göttingen Observatory and the Institute of
Physics, covering a distance of about 1 km. The setup consisted of a
coil that could be moved up and down over the end of two magnetic
steel bars. The resulting induction current was transmitted through
two wires to the receiver, consisting of a galvanometer . The
direction of the current could be reversed by commuting the two wires
in a special switch. Therefore, Gauss and Weber chose to encode the
alphabet in a binary code, using positive and negative currents as the
Electrical telegraph § Commercial telegraphy
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:
* United States, 20 companies with 23,000 miles of wire.
* Great Britain, Cooke-Wheatstone company and minor companies, with
2200 miles of wire.
* Prussia, 1400 miles of wire, Siemens system.
* Austria, 1000 miles of wire, Siemens system.
* Canada, 900 miles of wire
* France, 700 miles of wire; optical systems dominant.
COOKE AND WHEATSTONE SYSTEM
The first commercial electrical telegraph was co-developed by Sir
William Fothergill Cooke
William Fothergill Cooke and
Charles Wheatstone . In May 1837, they
patented the Cooke and Wheatstone system , which used a number of
needles on a board that could be moved to point to letters of the
alphabet. The patent recommended a five-needle system, but any number
of needles could be used depending on the number of characters it was
required to code. A four-needle system was installed between Euston
Camden Town in
London on a rail line being constructed by Robert
London and Birmingham. It was successfully
demonstrated on 25 July 1837. Euston needed to signal to an engine
Camden Town to start hauling the locomotive up the incline.
As at Liverpool, the electric telegraph was in the end rejected in
favour of a pneumatic system with whistles. Cooke and
Wheatstone\'s five-needle, six-wire telegraph
Cooke and Wheatstone had their first commercial success with a system
installed on the
Great Western Railway over the 13 miles (21 km) from
Paddington station to
West Drayton in 1838, the first commercial
telegraph in the world. This was a five-needle, six-wire system. The
cables were originally installed underground in a steel conduit.
However, the cables soon began to fail as a result of deteriorating
insulation and were replaced with uninsulated wires on poles. As an
interim measure, a two-needle system was used with three of the
remaining working underground wires, which despite using only two
needles had a greater number of codes. But when the line was extended
to Slough in 1843, a one-needle, two-wire system was installed.
From this point, the use of the electric telegraph started to grow on
the new railways being built from London. The
London and Blackwall
Railway (another rope-hauled application) was equipped with the Cooke
and Wheatstone telegraph when it opened in 1840, and many others
followed. 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. In
September 1845, the financier
John Lewis Ricardo and Cooke formed the
Electric Telegraph Company , the first public telegraphy company in
the world. This company bought out the Cooke and Wheatstone patents
and solidly established the telegraph business.
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 offices across the country.
The era of mass personal communication had begun.
Morse code A Morse key
An electrical telegraph was independently developed and patented in
United States in 1837 by
Samuel Morse . His assistant, Alfred Vail
, developed the
Morse code signalling alphabet with Morse. The first
telegram in the
United States was sent by Morse on 11 January 1838,
across two miles (3 km) 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 " from the Capitol in
Washington to the old Mt. Clare Depot in Baltimore. From then on,
commercial telegraphy took off in America with lines linking all the
major metropolitan centres on the East Coast within the next decade.
The overland telegraph connected the west coast of the continent to
the east coast by 24 October 1861, bringing an end to the Pony Express
The Morse telegraphic apparatus was officially adopted as the
standard for European telegraphy in 1851. Only Great Britain with its
extensive overseas empire kept the needle telegraph of Cooke and
Wheatstone. In 1858, Morse introduced wired communication to Latin
America when he established a telegraph system in
Puerto Rico , then a
Spanish Colony. The line was inaugurated on March 1, 1859, in a
ceremony flanked by the Spanish and American flags.
Another early system was that of
Edward Davy , who demonstrated his
in Regent\'s Park in 1837 and was granted a patent on 4 July 1838. He
also developed an electric relay.
Telegraphy was driven by the need to reduce sending costs, either in
hand-work per message or by increasing the sending rate. While many
experimental systems employing moving pointers and various electrical
encodings proved too complicated and unreliable, a successful advance
in the sending rate was achieved through the development of
telegraphese . The first message is received by the Submarine
Telegraph Company in
Paris on the Foy-Breguet instrument
The first system that didn't require skilled technicians to operate
was Sir Charles Wheatstone's ABC system in 1840 where 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.
BEFORE TELEGRAPHY, A LETTER BY POST FROM LONDON TOOK
New York in USA
Alexandria in Egypt
Constantinople in Ottoman Turkey
Bombay in India
Calcutta in Bengal
Shanghai in China
Sydney in Australia
In 1846, Alexander Bain patented a chemical telegraph in
The signal current made a readable mark on a moving paper tape soaked
in a mixture of ammonium nitrate and potassium ferrocyanide, which
gave a blue mark when a current was passed through it. A Baudot
David Edward Hughes
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 the accepted around the world.
The next improvement was the
Baudot code of 1874. French engineer
Émile Baudot patented a printing telegraph in which the signals were
translated automatically into typographic characters. Each character
was assigned a unique code based on the sequence of just five
contacts. 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 original inventor of the telegraph. The
Morse code ) 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.
Telex Phelps' Electro-motor
Telegraph from circa 1880, the last and most advanced
telegraphy mechanism designed by
George May Phelps
Teleprinters were invented in order to send and receive messages
without the need for operators trained in the use of Morse code. A
system of two teleprinters, with one operator trained to use a
typewriter, replaced two trained
Morse code operators. The teleprinter
system improved message speed and delivery time, making it possible
for messages to be flashed across a country with little manual
Early teleprinters used the ITA-1
Baudot code , 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 and around 1930, the
CCITT introduced the
INTERNATIONAL TELEGRAPH ALPHABET NO. 2 (ITA2) code as an international
standard. A Siemens T100
By 1935, message routing was the last great barrier to full
automation. Large telegraphy providers began to develop systems that
used telephone-like rotary dialling to connect teletypewriters. These
machines were called "Telex" (TELegraph EXchange).
first performed rotary-telephone-style pulse dialling for circuit
switching and then sent data by
Baudot code . This "type A" Telex
routing functionally automated message routing.
Telex began in Germany as a research and development program in 1926
that became an operational teleprinter service in 1933. The service
was operated by the Reichspost (Reich postal service) and had a speed
of 50 baud - approximately 66 words-per-minute.
At the rate of 45.45 (±0.5%) 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 ,
making telex the least expensive method of reliable long-distance
Western Union telegram circa 1930
Automatic teleprinter exchange service was introduced into
CPR Telegraphs and
CN Telegraph in July 1957, and in 1958, Western
Union started to build a
Telex network in the United States.
Beginning in 1956, telegrams begun to be transmitted over the Telex
network using the ITU F.20 standard named Gentex in order to lower the
costs for some European telecommunications companies by allowing the
sending telegraph station to connect directly to the receiving
OCEANIC TELEGRAPH CABLES
Transatlantic telegraph cable and Submarine
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 mooted. One of the primary
technical challenges was to insulate the submarine cable sufficiently
to prevent the 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
Calais . It was tried on a wire laid across the
Rhine between Deutz
Cologne . In 1849,
C.V. Walker , electrician to the South Eastern
Railway , submerged a two-mile wire coated with gutta-percha off the
coast from Folkestone, which was tested successfully.
John Watkins Brett , an engineer from
Bristol , sought and obtained
Louis-Philippe in 1847 to establish telegraphic
England . The first undersea cable
was laid in 1850 and connected
Paris . After an initial
exchange of greetings between Queen Victoria and President Napoleon ,
it was almost immediately severed by a French fishing vessel. The
line was relaid the next year and then followed by connections to
Ireland and the
Low Countries . Major telegraph lines across the
Earth in 1891
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 27 July 1866, by the
SS Great Eastern , captained by
Sir James Anderson after many
mishaps along the way. Earlier transatlantic submarine cables
installations were attempted in 1857, 1858, and 1865. The 1858 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 . An overland
telegraph from Britain to India was first connected in 1866 but was
unreliable so a submarine telegraph cable was connected in 1870.
Several telegraph companies were combined to form the Eastern
Telegraph Company in 1872.
Australia was first linked to the rest of the world in October 1872
by a submarine telegraph cable at Darwin . This brought news
reportage 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. During
World War I
World War I , Britain's telegraph
communications were almost completely uninterrupted while it was able
to quickly cut Germany's cables worldwide.
Alexander Bain 's facsimile machine , 1850
In 1843, Scottish inventor Alexander Bain invented a device that
could be considered the first facsimile machine . He called his
invention a "recording telegraph". Bain's telegraph was able to
transmit images by electrical wires.
Frederick Bakewell made several
improvements on Bain's design and demonstrated a telefax machine. In
1855, an Italian abbot,
Giovanni Caselli , also created an electric
telegraph that could transmit images. Caselli called his invention
Pantelegraph was successfully tested and approved for
a telegraph line between
In 1881, English inventor
Shelford Bidwell constructed the scanning
phototelegraph that was the first telefax machine to scan any
two-dimensional original, not requiring manual plotting or drawing.
Around 1900, German physicist
Arthur Korn invented the Bildtelegraph
widespread in continental
Europe especially since a widely noticed
transmission of a wanted-person photograph from
1908 used until the wider distribution of the radiofax. Its main
competitors were the Bélinographe by
Édouard Belin first, then since
the 1930s, the
Hellschreiber , invented in 1929 by German inventor
Rudolf Hell , a pioneer in mechanical image scanning and transmission.
Wireless telegraphy Post Office Engineers inspect
Marconi 's equipment on
Flat Holm , May 1897
The late 1880s through to the 1890s saw the discovery and then
development of a newly understood phenomenon into a form of wireless
telegraphy , called Hertzian wave wireless telegraphy,
radiotelegraphy, or (later) simply "radio ". Between 1886 and 1888,
Heinrich Rudolf Hertz
Heinrich Rudolf Hertz published the results of his experiments where
he was able to transmit electromagnetic waves (radio waves) through
the air, proving
James Clerk Maxwell
James Clerk Maxwell 's 1873 theory of electromagnetic
radiation . Many scientists and inventors experimented with this new
phenomenon but the general consensus was that these new waves (similar
to light) would be just as short range as light, and, therefore,
useless for long range communication.
At the end of 1894, the young Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi
began working on the idea of building a commercial wireless telegraphy
system based on the use of Hertzian waves (radio waves), a line of
inquiry that he noted other inventors did not seem to be pursuing.
Building on the ideas of previous scientists and inventors Marconi
re-engineered their apparatus by trial and error attempting to build a
radio based wireless telegraphic system that would function the same
as wired telegraphy. He would work on the system through 1895 in his
lab and then in field tests making improvements to extend its range.
After many breakthroughs, including applying the wired telegraphy
concept of grounding the transmitter and receiver, Marconi was able,
by early 1896, to transmit radio far beyond the short ranges that had
been predicted. Having failed to interest the Italian government, the
22-year-old inventor brought his telegraphy system to Britain in 1896
William Preece , a Welshman, who was a major figure in the
field and Chief Engineer of the
General Post Office
General Post Office . A series of
demonstrations for the British government followed—by March 1897,
Marconi had transmitted
Morse code signals over a distance of about 6
kilometres (3.7 mi) across
Salisbury Plain . Marconi watching
associates raising the kite (a "Levitor" by B.F.S. Baden-Powell ) used
to lift the antenna at St. John\'s, Newfoundland , December 1901
On 13 May 1897, Marconi, assisted by George Kemp, a
Office engineer, transmitted the first wireless signals over water to
Wales ) from
Flat Holm . The message sent
was "ARE YOU READY". From his Fraserburgh base, he transmitted the
first long-distance, cross-country wireless signal to Poldhu in
Cornwall. His star rising, he was soon sending signals across The
English channel (1899), from shore to ship (1899) and finally across
the Atlantic (1901). A study of these demonstrations of radio, with
scientists trying to work out how a phenomenon predicted to have a
short range could transmit "over the horizon", led to the discovery of
a radio reflecting layer in the Earth's atmosphere in 1902, later
called the ionosphere .
Radiotelegraphy proved effective for rescue work in sea disasters by
enabling effective communication between ships and from ship to shore.
In 1904, Marconi began the first commercial service to transmit
nightly news summaries to subscribing ships, which could incorporate
them into their on-board newspapers. A regular transatlantic
radio-telegraph service was finally begun on 17 October 1907.
Notably, Marconi's apparatus was used to help rescue efforts after the
sinking of Titanic . Britain's postmaster-general summed up, referring
to the Titanic disaster, "Those who have been saved, have been saved
through one man, Mr. Marconi...and his marvellous invention."
Main article: History of the
Internet See also:
Around 1965, DARPA commissioned a study of decentralised switching
systems. Some of the ideas developed in this study provided
inspiration for the development of the
ARPANET packet switching
research network, which later grew to become the public
As the PSTN became a digital network,
networks became commonplace in the U.S. A T1 line has a "frame" of 193
bits that repeats 8000 times per second. The first bit called the
"sync" bit alternates between 1 and 0 to identify the start of the
frames. The rest of the frame provides 8 bits for each of 24 separate
voice or data channels. Customarily, a T-1 link is sent over a
balanced twisted pair, isolated with transformers to prevent current
flow. Europeans adopted a similar system (E-1 ) of 32 channels (with
one channel for frame synchronisation).
SONET and SDH were adapted to combine carrier channels into
groups that could be sent over optic fiber . The capacity of an optic
fibre is often extended with wavelength division multiplexing , rather
than rerigging new fibre. Rigging several fibres in the same
structures as the first fibre is usually easy and inexpensive, and
many fibre installations include unused spare "dark fibre ", "dark
wavelengths", and unused parts of the
SONET frame, so-called "virtual
In 2002, the
Internet was used by
Kevin Warwick at the University of
Reading to communicate neural signals, in purely electronic form,
telegraphically between the nervous systems of two humans,
potentially opening up a new form of communication combining the
Internet and telegraphy.
In 2006, a well-defined communication channel used for telegraphy was
established by the
OC-768 , which sent about 40
gigabits per second.
The theoretical maximum capacity of an optic fibre is more than 1015
bits (one petabit or one quadrillion bits) per second.
Internet operates over any digital transmission medium,
further evolution of telegraphic technology will be effectively
concealed from users.
E-mail was first invented for CTSS and similar time sharing systems
of the era in the mid-1960s. At first, e-mail was possible only
between different accounts on the same computer (typically a mainframe
ARPANET allowed different computers to be connected to allow
e-mails to be relayed from computer to computer, with the first
ARPANET e-mail being sent in 1971.
Multics also pioneered instant
messaging between computer users in the mid-1970s. With the growth of
the Internet, e-mail began to be possible between any two computers
with access to the Internet.
Various private networks like
UUNET (founded 1987), the Well (1985),
GEnie (1985) had e-mail from the 1970s, but subscriptions were
quite expensive for an individual, US$25 to US$50 per month, just for
Internet use was then largely limited to government, academia,
and other government contractors until the net was opened to
commercial use in the 1980s.
By the early 1990s, modems made e-mail a viable alternative to Telex
systems in a business environment. But individual e-mail accounts were
not widely available until local
Internet service providers were in
place, although demand grew rapidly, as e-mail was seen as the
Internet's killer app . It allowed anyone to email anyone, whereas
previously, different system had been walled off from each other, such
that America Online subscribers could email only other America Online
subscribers, Compuserve subscribers could email only other Compuserve
subscribers, etc. The broad user base created by the demand for e-mail
smoothed the way for the rapid acceptance of the
World Wide Web
World Wide Web in the
Fax machines were another technology that helped displace
On Monday, 12 July 1999, a final telegram was sent from the National
Liberty Ship Memorial, the SS Jeremiah O\'Brien , in San Francisco Bay
Bill Clinton in the White House. Officials of Globe
Wireless reported that "The message was 95 words, and it took six or
eight minutes to copy it." They then transmitted the message to the
White House via e-mail. That event was also used to mark the final
commercial U.S. ship-to-shore telegraph message transmitted from North
America by Globe Wireless, a company founded in 1911. Sent from its
wireless station at
Half Moon Bay, California , the sign-off message
was a repeat of Samuel F. B. Morse's message 155 years earlier, "What
hath God wrought?"
* In Australia,
Australia Post closed its telegram service on 7
March 2011. In the Victorian town of Beechworth , visitors can send
telegrams to family members or friends from the Beechworth Telegraph
Batelco still offers telegram services. They are
thought to be more formal than an email or a fax, but less so than a
letter. So should a death or anything of importance occur, telegrams
would be sent.
* In Belgium,
Belgacom still offers telegram services within the
country and internationally. It sent 63,000 telegrams in 2010
* In Canada, Telegrams
Canada still offers telegram services. AT and
colloquial", to better facilitate a worldwide media language. Media
language had to be standardized, which led to the gradual
disappearance of different forms of speech and styles of journalism
Numerous newspapers and news outlets in various countries, such as
Telegraph in Britain, The
Telegraph in India, De Telegraaf
in the Netherlands, and the
Jewish Telegraphic Agency in the US, were
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For German telegrams, the mean length is 11.5 words or 72.4
characters. At the end of the 19th century, the average length of a
German telegram was calculated as 14.2 words.
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