Sunday, January 6, 2013

January 6: Samuel Morse and the Telegraph

On this date in History ...... 1838:

Samuel Morse demonstrates his telegraph system in Morristown, NJ, a device that would revolutionize long distance communication, peaking in the 1920s and 1930s.

In 1843, he convinced a “skeptical Congress” to finance the first line from Washington DC to Baltimore and lines across the country were quickly built across the country. 

The telegraph system created its own culture.  Telegrams charged per word but the word “stop" was allowed for free, so people used that at the end of a sentence instead of a period (which counted as a chargeable word). During the Depression (1933) Western Union introduced singing telegrams, and during WWII, the sight of a Western Union carrier caused dread because it was the method that families learned of a soldier’s death.

In January 2006, Western Union, the company that had put the Pony Express out of business by providing faster communication, sent it last telegram, having been put out of business by cheaper phone service, faxes and emails which could provide faster communication.


No comments:

Post a Comment