Monday, April 27, 2009

Samuel F. B. Morse: Inventor of the Lightning Wire

"Samuel F. B. Morse"
National Inventors Hall of Fame™

"...Improvement in the Mode of Communicating Information by Signals by the Application of Electro-Magnetism
"Patent Number(s) 1,647

"Morse developed 'lightning wires' and 'Morse code,' an electronic alphabet that could carry messages. The patent was applied for in 1840. A line was constructed between Baltimore and Washington and the first message, sent on May 24,1844, was 'What hath God wrought!'..."

By 1861, cities on the east and west coasts were connected by telegraph.

And, "....In 1858 several European countries combined to pay a gratuity of 400,000 francs as compensation for their use of his system...."

Samuel F. B. Morse started out as a portrait painter, but turned to inventing. The three patents for pumps he took out with his brother are largely forgotten - but the telegraph and the code he developed for transmitting information put his name on the map.

And, arguably, launched the Information Age.

Morse "...realized that pulses of electrical current could convey information over wires...." And, what set him apart, worked out the technology to send information over wires and a code for encoding the information.

The telegraph system is no computer: but I think the wide-spread use of this information transmitting technology marks the beginning of the age we live in. Today, transcontinental videoconferencing is possible, computers are commonplace in many countries, and telephone networks are even more common. I think that Samuel F. B. Morse's lightning wires and code, making high-speed transmission of information possible, was the first step into this era.

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