The Electric Telegraph


The electric telegraph was found in 1835 by the discover that the electromagnet could traveling through the cabal by Samuel Morse. The fist test line is between Washington and Baltimore (it is cost about 100$ USD per Km). In 1838 the first telegraph was opening for the public service in England by the development of William Cooke and Charles Wheatstone. However to send the message over the long distance cable could not been imaginable. Samuel Morse came up with the most important part that make the electric telegraph works that is the communication system called “Morse code”



Morse code! What is it? Morse code is a unique communication system first use by Samuel Morse in 1838. It is work by transmitting the two types of signal they are short and long or known as dots and dashes. Here an example how the Morse code works, if I want to say “Hello” I have to code like this;

– – – – (H) – (E) – _ – – (L) – _ – – (L) _ _ _ (O) (Hello = – – – – – – _ – – -_ – – _ _ _)

This is allowed us to send the message across the world, as this system was developing to use with the electric telegraph.

The electric telegraph works by press the key on the sender the electromagnet will travel along the cable to the receiver, the receiver will press the key in to the role of paper. This video will show how the electric telegraph works:

However there are many limitation of what it can do. The electric telegraph does not have the ability to send the image or any kind of drawing, as it is only send and receive one type of signal. It is can only send to the cable from point to point, which mean the sender, cannot send the message to some area that doesn’t have the telegraph line, this is limited of user with in the cable line group. And if you want to send the message over the long distance the message may get lost on the way often there are some operators who would pick the signal up and re send the message again to destination this may lead to loss of original message. The Morse code is also limit to the English alphabet and number and this created the language barrier to other countries that don’t use English language.



Hard to understand, the receiver can also misunderstanding the message, there are a lots of confusion with in the world “Hello” (- – – – – – _ – – -_ – – _ _ _) as if they translation the first 3 dots as “S” or the first 2 dots as an “I” or the first dot as an “E” then follow with the “S” or the five dots as number “5”. This is only confusion with in one word so thinks about the sentences how much more mix-up it would be. It is also limited to user who can afford to pay for the expensive telegraph. So people trying to make the sentence as short as possible and this may lead to misunderstanding (even this day we are still shorten the sentence “wbu” for “what about you”, maybe we are getting lazier)

In the other hand the electric telegraph play a big role in the civil war in the USA as it have been uses in the government system to warning the incoming opposite side. It is allow people to communicate to the people in different culture and part around the world with in a short period of time. It is the start of the globalization as the world connected together. Even we know that the Morse code have negative aspects but they are still use in the military as it is still do the work, The purpose of sending the information and receive the message until they find a better way of communication.

Now a day the electric telegraph maybe out dated but at the time is was a big innovation the connect the different part around the world together and it is the base for the new technology.


Bellis, M. (2015). Samuel Morse and the History of the Telegraph. [online] Money. Available at: [Accessed 9 Aug. 2015]., (2015). 2. The Electric Telegraph (1838-1922). [online] Available at: [Accessed 8 Aug. 2015]., (2015). telegraph Facts, information, pictures | articles about telegraph. [online] Available at: [Accessed 9 Aug. 2015]., (2015). How the Telegraph Helped Lincoln Win the Civil War. [online] Available at: [Accessed 9 Aug. 2015].

Message, F. (2015). Morse Code & the Telegraph – Inventions – [online] Available at: [Accessed 8 Aug. 2015]., (2015). History of Morse’s Telegraph -The Telegraph and Morse Code. [online] Available at: [Accessed 7 Aug. 2015]., (2015). How the Electric Telegraph Works – The Electric Telegraph:A Revolutionary Invention. [online] Available at: [Accessed 7 Aug. 2015]., (2015). The History of the Telegraph – Communication at its Best! – NEARFIELDCOMMUNICATIONNFC.NET. [online] Available at: [Accessed 8 Aug. 2015].

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