First Telegraph Message

My father served in the Royal Signals during the Second World War, and was a Morse Code operator. This fascinated me as a child as he remembered and demonstrated his skills, so much so that I learnt all the letters – not that I could remember them now!

On this day (24 May 1844) Samuel Morse sent the first telegraph message over a line strung alongside a railroad between Washington DC and Baltimore some forty miles away. It was an early step in the subsequent rise of technological change upon society, one in which has resulted in me being able to write and publish this post to the whole world from the smartphone in my pocket.

Morse conceived of a rapid communications system using electricity and the electro-magnet while travelling from Europe to take up a post as an arts professor in New York. It was as a result of this idea that he first developed what became known as Morse Code, a method of rendering the alphabet in a sequence of dashes and dots which allowed the sending of messages by telegraph, though his system was significantly simplified by his colleague Alfred Vail. Source

The rest is history, as they say, for in less than two hundred years we have the whole of human knowledge at our fingertips. Unfortunately, we often sadly lack the wisdom to use it wisely.

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