Conquering Space and Time: the Telegraph

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  • Topic: Electrical telegraph, Telegraphy, 19th century
  • Pages : 6 (1831 words )
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  • Published : July 2, 2012
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Izzahar Ramli
IIUM

Development of the Telegraph
The telegraph is defined as any system that allows the transmission of encoded information by signal across a distance. The meaning of "telegraph" comes from Greek words: tele = far and graphein = write. While telegraph systems have used a variety of signaling methods and devices, the term is most often applied to the electrical telegraph development in the 19th century (Rubin, 2011). It is hard for us who live in the 21st century to appreciate and raise the value of gratefulness towards development of communication, especially telegraph. Hundreds of years ago, there was no electricity. In line with this fact, communications are undoubtedly or almost certainly took place by using smoke, fire or drum signal. Before the arrival or presence of the telegraph in the early 19th century, speed of messages depends on the speed of the transporter or carrier. For example, the promptness or punctuality of messages depends on the speed of a horse, train, pigeon and etc. In the late 18th century, optical telegraph which were based on visible transmission encoded by different positions of pivoted arms located on high towers were invented by Claude Chappe in France and George Murray in England which is the semaphore. This system was visual and used semaphore, a flag-based alphabet, and depended on a line of sight for communication. On the other hand, this system could not work at night. After the approaching of telegraph, messages travel over wires practically at incredible speed. The optical telegraph was then replaced by the electric telegraph. The discovery of electricity conveys a huge impact on telegraphic technology. Early discoverer or innovator realized that electricity could be used as medium to send messages in nick of time. The theory that signals could be transmitted by wire has been proven by Samuel Morse the minute he is a professor of art and design at New York University in 1835. Pulses of current were used by him to deflect an electromagnet, which written codes were produced by a marker on a strip of paper – the invention of Morse code. His device was made up of a sending key, a wire and a receiver that made symbols or scripts on a paper tape in concert with changes in the electrical current. Well ahead, his device eliminated or eradicated paper tape and works on the click sound made by the receiver or telegraphic device. Make things easier, Morse improved and modified the device to emboss the paper with dots and dashes. He gave a public demonstration in 1838, but it was not until five years later that Congress (reflecting public apathy) funded $30,000 to construct an experimental telegraph line from Washington to Baltimore, a distance of 40 miles, and the nation’s first telegraph service launched or presented with the well-known message “What hath God wrought?” In May 1844, the complete telegraph line was officially opened by sending a message, "What hath God wrought?" from Supreme Court chamber in the United States Capitol to Samuel Morse partner in Baltimore by using the Morse code. The message was chosen by Annie Ellsworth, the young daughter of Samuel Morse friend. She selected a verse from Numbers XXIII, 23: “What hath God wrought?” which was recorded onto paper using dots and dashes. The scripts then were translated by an operator. The Cultural Impact of the Telegraph

Long time ago, when people want to communicate with long distance people, they need to send their messages by mail and it take a long time to reach. After the existence of the telegraph, it can reduced communication times from weeks or months to less than a day. However, in the early existence of the telegraph, people scared and always aware when they walking because of the wires that swayed between poles contain electricity that can exposure to harm and that make them to refuse walking under the wires. However, some people still did not believe the telegraph can transmits message to people in...
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