Antiqua Print Gallery History of Telegraphy
Enter your email details
view cart
Items: 0 Total: £0.00
US DollarEuroAustralian DollarPound Sterling


 Phone +44-208-960-3476
 Mobile +44-7973-156514


10% off orders of 4 or more items

We will apply a 10% discount when you purchase at least 4 items.

History of Telegraphy

Telegraphy is the long-distance transmission of written messages without physical transport of letters. It is a compound term formed from the Greek words tele = far and graphein = write. Radiotelegraphy or wireless telegraphy transmits messages using radio. Telegraphy includes recent forms of data transmission such as fax, email, and computer networks in general.
A telegraph is a machine 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 using a spark gap.
A telegraph message sent by a telegraph operator (or telegrapher) using Morse code or a printing telegraph operator using plain text was known as a telegram or cablegram, often shortened to a cable or a wire message. Later, a telegram sent by the Telex network, a switched network of teleprinters similar to the telephone network, was known as a telex message.
Before long distance telephone services were readily available or affordable, telegram services were very popular. Telegrams were often used to confirm business dealings and, unlike email, telegrams were commonly used to create binding legal documents for business dealings.
A wire picture or wire photo was a newspaper picture that was sent from a remote location by a facsimile telegraph.

Electrical telegraphs

One very early experiment in electrical telegraphy was an electrochemical telegraph created by the German physician, anatomist and inventor Samuel Thomas von Sömmering in 1809, based on an earlier, less robust design of 1804 by Catalan polymath and scientist Francisco Salvá i 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 electrical 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.
Also one of the first electromagnetic telegraph designs was created by Baron Schilling in 1832.
Carl Friedrich Gauss and Wilhelm Weber built and first used for regular communication the electromagnetic telegraph in 1833 in Göttingen. The first commercial electrical telegraph was constructed by Sir William Fothergill Cooke and entered use on the Great Western Railway in Britain. It ran for 13 miles (21 km) from Paddington station to West Drayton and came into operation on 9 April 1839. It was patented in the United Kingdom in 1837. 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. In 1855 an Italian abbot, Giovanni Caselli, also created an electric telegraph that could transmit images. Caselli called his invention "Pantelegraph". Pantelegraph was successfully tested and approved for a telegraph line between Paris and Lyon.
An electrical telegraph was independently developed and patented in the United States in 1837 by Samuel F. B. Morse. His assistant, Alfred Vail, developed the Morse code signaling alphabet with Morse. America's first telegram was sent by Morse on 6 January 1838, across two miles (3 km) of wire at Speedwell Ironworks near Morristown, New Jersey. The message read "A patient waiter is no loser." On 24 May 1844, he sent the message "What hath God wrought" (quoting Numbers 23:23) from the Old Supreme Court Chamber in the Capitol in Washington to the old Mt. Clare Depot in Baltimore. This message was chosen by Annie Ellsworth of Lafayette, Indiana, later Mrs. Roswell Smith (Roswell, NM was named after her husband), the daughter of Patent Commissioner Henry Leavitt Ellsworth. The Morse/Vail telegraph was quickly deployed in the following two decades.
The first commercially successful transatlantic telegraph cable was successfully completed on 18 July 1866. Earlier transatlantic submarine cables installations were attempted in 1857, 1858 and 1865. The 1857 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. The telegraph lines from Britain to India were connected in 1870 (those several companies 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.
Further advancements in telegraph technology occurred in the early 1870s, when Thomas Edison devised a full duplex two-way telegraph and then doubled its capacity with the invention of quadruplex telegraphy in 1874. Edison filed for a US patent on the duplex telegraph on 1 September 1874 and received U.S. Patent 480,567 on 9 August 1892.
The telegraph across the Pacific was completed in 1902, finally encircling the world.

(Source Wikipedia)