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What Mr. Morse Hath Wrought

Jeffrey Syken

On March 24th 1844, a new era opened when Samuel Morse – an accomplished painter and inventor, sent a four word message via his single-wire telegraph in “Morse Code” from the basement of the Capitol in Washington D.C. to the Mount Clare Station in Baltimore. Prophetically, Morse chose the biblical verse: What Hath God Wrought.

Indeed, it was not God but Morse himself who wrought a new age of communication for mankind. As well, his language of dots and dashes: International Morse Code, became the standard worldwide for telegraphy. It was while experimenting with Harmonic Telegraphy – a means to send several messages on a single telegraph wire that Alexander Graham Bell would come to invent the telephone in 1876.

In 1855, two rival telegraph companies merged to form The Western Union Telegraph Company and by 1861, Western Union established trans-continental telegraph service. Through the rest of the 19th Century and well into the 20th Century, telegraphy was a major method/means of personal, business and government communication. Though commmunication technology became more sophisticated with the passing years, telegraphy was the basis for many 20th Century advancements in communication technology including facsimile transmission of words and pictures and even microwave transmission of messages.

This course includes a multiple-choice quiz at the end, which is designed to enhance the understanding of the course materials.

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