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Samuel Morse

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Achievement

In 1837 Samuel Morse invents the Electric Telegraph.

In 1837, the British physicst and inventor Sir Charles Wheatstone and the British electrical engineer Sir William Fothergill Cooke invented the first British electric telegraph. (Sir Charles was a busy man. Amongst other things, he also invented the accordion in 1829 and three-dimensional photographs in the form of his stereoscope in 1838.)

Wheatstone's telegraph made use of five wires, each of which was used to drive a pointer at the receiver to indicate different letters. In the same year, the American inventor Samuel Finley Breese Morse developed the first American telegraph, which was based on simple patterns of "dots" and "dashes" called Morse Code being transmitted over a single wire (the duration of a "dash" is three times the duration of a "dot").

Morse's system was eventually adopted as the standard technique, because it was easier to construct and more reliable than Wheatstone's. Note that the figure above only shows a subset of the code (although it's quite a large subset), but it's enough to give the general idea. Also note that this table shows International Morse Code, which is a slightly different flavor to American Morse Code.

The Morse Telegraph and Morse code are of interest, because they sparked the first application of paper tapes as a medium for the preparation, storage, and transmission of data, and this technique would eventually be used be the designers of computers.

 

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Footnotes & References

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courtesy:
These notes are abstracted from the book Bebop BYTES Back (An Unconventional Guide to Computers), featuring the pedagogical and fantasmagorical Beboputer(TM) Virtual Computer (why not order an Autographed Copy today?)

Copyright Maxfield & Montrose Interactive Inc., 1996, 1997. All rights reserved.

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