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Before there was broadband, there was a beard

morse

Samuel F.B. Morse, inventor of the telegraph, ca. 1860 - ca. 1865 (ARC 526779)

Long before the push to make high-speed Internet available across America, Samuel Morse was tap-tap-tapping information across America. By 1838, his telegraph machine was using a dot-and-dash system to send messages of up to 10 words a minute. He even convinced Congress to come to up with $30,000 to help him wire America.

Morse was born in 1791, more than 200 hundred years before Twitter was invented. But the telegraph was as radical as Twitter. Morse’s invention was a new, fast method for communicating across distances, and changed the way wars were fought.

Ever wonder how Lincoln communicated with his generals? He certainly wasn’t texting or twittering—but he was telegraphing during the Civil War, giving orders and making decisions. He even received a telegram from General Sherman announcing the surrender of Savannah, GA, as a Christmas present.

Virginia, Petersburg, Field Telegraph Battery Wagon, 09/1864 (ARC 533347)

Virginia, Petersburg, Field Telegraph Battery Wagon, 09/1864 (ARC 533347; 165-SB-73)

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Comments

Comment from Martin Prochnik
Time October 1, 2010 at 10:42 am

Observer balloonists used wire connected telegraphs to communicate their findings with ground troops.