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Wikipedia

This article is about telegraphy generally. For telegraphy over conducting wires, see Electrical telegraph. For the ship's telegraph, see Engine order telegraph.
"Telegraph" and "Telegram" redirect here. For other uses, see The Telegraph (disambiguation), Telegraph (disambiguation), Telegram (software), and Telegram (disambiguation).

Telegraphy is the long-distance transmission of messages where the sender uses symbolic codes, known to the recipient, rather than a physical exchange of an object bearing the message. Thus flag semaphore is a method of telegraphy, whereas pigeon post is not. Ancient signalling systems, although sometimes quite extensive and sophisticated as in China, were generally not capable of transmitting arbitrary text messages. Possible messages were fixed and predetermined and such systems are thus not true telegraphs.

Replica of Claude Chappe's optical telegraph on the Litermont near Nalbach, Germany

The earliest true telegraph put into widespread use was the optical telegraph of Claude Chappe, invented in the late 18th century. The system was used extensively in France, and European nations occupied by France, during the Napoleonic era. The electric telegraph started to replace the optical telegraph in the mid-19th century. It was first taken up in Britain in the form of the Cooke and Wheatstone telegraph, initially used mostly as an aid to railway signalling. This was quickly followed by a different system developed in the United States by Samuel Morse. The electric telegraph was slower to develop in France due to the established optical telegraph system, but an electrical telegraph was put into use with a code compatible with the Chappe optical telegraph. The Morse system was adopted as the international standard in 1865, using a modified Morse code developed in Germany in 1848.

The heliograph is a telegraph system using reflected sunlight for signalling. It was mainly used in areas where the electrical telegraph had not been established and generally used the same code. The most extensive heliograph network established was in Arizona and New Mexico during the Apache Wars. The heliograph was standard military equipment as late as World War II. Wireless telegraphy developed in the early 20th century became important for maritime use, and was a competitor to electrical telegraphy using submarine telegraph cables in international communications.

Telegrams became a popular means of sending messages once telegraph prices had fallen sufficiently. Traffic became high enough to spur the development of automated systems—teleprinters and punched tape transmission. These systems led to new telegraph codes, starting with the Baudot code. However, telegrams were never able to compete with the letter post on price, and competition from the telephone, which removed their speed advantage, drove the telegraph into decline from 1920 onwards. The few remaining telegraph applications were largely taken over by alternatives on the internet towards the end of the 20th century.

Contents

The word telegraph (from Ancient Greek:τῆλε (têle) 'at a distance' andγράφειν (gráphein) 'to write') was first coined by the French inventor of the semaphore telegraph, Claude Chappe, who also coined the word semaphore.

A telegraph is a device 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 transmission of messages over radio with telegraphic codes.

Contrary to the extensive definition used by Chappe, Morse argued that the term telegraph can strictly be applied only to systems that transmit and record messages at a distance. This is to be distinguished from semaphore, which merely transmits messages. Smoke signals, for instance, are to be considered semaphore, not telegraph. According to Morse, telegraph dates only from 1832 when Pavel Schilling invented one of the earliest electrical telegraphs.

A telegraph message sent by an electrical telegraph operator or telegrapher using Morse code (or a printing telegraph operator using plain text) was known as a telegram. A cablegram was a message sent by a submarine telegraph cable, often shortened to "cable" or "wire". Later, a Telex was a message sent by a Telex network, a switched network of teleprinters similar to a telephone network.

A wirephoto or wire picture was a newspaper picture that was sent from a remote location by a facsimile telegraph. A diplomatic telegram, also known as a diplomatic cable, is a confidential communication between a diplomatic mission and the foreign ministry of its parent country. These continue to be called telegrams or cables regardless of the method used for transmission.

Great Wall of China

Passing messages by signalling over distance is an ancient practice. One of the oldest examples is the signal towers of the Great Wall of China. In400 BC, signals could be sent by beacon fires or drum beats. By200 BC complex flag signalling had developed, and by the Han dynasty (200 BC – 220 AD) signallers had a choice of lights, flags, or gunshots to send signals. By the Tang dynasty (618–907) a message could be sent 1,100 kilometres (700 mi) in 24 hours. The Ming dynasty (1368–1644) added artillery to the possible signals. While the signalling was complex (for instance, different-coloured flags could be used to indicate enemy strength), only predetermined messages could be sent. The Chinese signalling system extended well beyond the Great Wall. Signal towers away from the wall were used to give early warning of an attack. Others were built even further out as part of the protection of trade routes, especially the Silk Road.

Signal fires were widely used in Europe and elsewhere for military purposes. The Roman army made frequent use of them, as did their enemies, and the remains of some of the stations still exist. Few details have been recorded of European/Mediterranean signalling systems and the possible messages. One of the few for which details are known is a system invented by Aeneas Tacticus (4th century BC). Tacticus's system had water filled pots at the two signal stations which were drained in synchronisation. Annotation on a floating scale indicated which message was being sent or received. Signals sent by means of torches indicated when to start and stop draining to keep the synchronisation.

None of the signalling systems discussed above are true telegraphs in the sense of a system that can transmit arbitrary messages over arbitrary distances. Lines of signalling relay stations can send messages to any required distance, but all these systems are limited to one extent or another in the range of messages that they can send. A system like flag semaphore, with an alphabetic code, can certainly send any given message, but the system is designed for short-range communication between two persons. An engine order telegraph, used to send instructions from the bridge of a ship to the engine room, fails to meet both criteria; it has a limited distance and very simple message set. There was only one ancient signalling system described that does meet these criteria. That was a system using the Polybius square to encode an alphabet. Polybius (2nd century BC) suggested using two successive groups of torches to identify the coordinates of the letter of the alphabet being transmitted. The number of said torches held up signalled the grid square that contained the letter. There is no definite record of the system ever being used, but there are several passages in ancient texts that some think are suggestive. Holzmann and Pehrson, for instance, suggest that Livy is describing its use by Philip V of Macedon in 207 BC during the First Macedonian War. Nothing else that could be described as a true telegraph existed until the 17th century.: 26–29 Possibly the first alphabetic telegraph code in the modern era is due to Franz Kessler who published his work in 1616. Kessler used a lamp placed inside a barrel with a moveable shutter operated by the signaller. The signals were observed at a distance with the newly invented telescope.: 32–34

In several places around the world, a system of passing messages from village to village using drum beats was developed. This was particularly highly developed in Africa. At the time of its discovery in Africa, the speed of message transmission was faster than any existing European system using optical telegraphs. The African drum system was not alphabetical. Rather, the drum beats followed the tones of the language. This made messages highly ambiguous and context was important for their correct interpretation.

Schematic of a Prussian optical telegraph (or semaphore) tower, c. 1835
19th-century demonstration of the semaphore
Main article: Optical telegraph

An optical telegraph is a telegraph consisting of a line of stations in towers or natural high points which signal to each other by means of shutters or paddles. Signalling by means of indicator pointers was called semaphore. Early proposals for an optical telegraph system were made to the Royal Society by Robert Hooke in 1684 and were first implemented on an experimental level by Sir Richard Lovell Edgeworth in 1767. The first successful optical telegraph network was invented by Claude Chappe and operated in France from 1793. The two most extensive systems were Chappe's in France, with branches into neighbouring countries, and the system of Abraham Niclas Edelcrantz in Sweden.: ix–x, 47

During 1790–1795, at the height of the French Revolution, France needed a swift and reliable communication system to thwart the war efforts of its enemies. In 1790, the Chappe brothers set about devising a system of communication that would allow the central government to receive intelligence and to transmit orders in the shortest possible time. On 2 March 1791, at 11 am, they sent the message "si vous réussissez, vous serez bientôt couverts de gloire" (If you succeed, you will soon bask in glory) between Brulon and Parce, a distance of 16 kilometres (10 mi). The first means used a combination of black and white panels, clocks, telescopes, and codebooks to send their message.

In 1792, Claude was appointed Ingénieur-Télégraphiste and charged with establishing a line of stations between Paris and Lille, a distance of 230 kilometres (140 mi). It was used to carry dispatches for the war between France and Austria. In 1794, it brought news of a French capture of Condé-sur-l'Escaut from the Austrians less than an hour after it occurred. A decision to replace the system with an electric telegraph was made in 1846, but it took a decade before it was fully taken out of service. The fall of Sebastopol was reported by Chappe telegraph in 1855.: 92–94

The Prussian system was put into effect in the 1830s. However, they were highly dependent on good weather and daylight to work and even then could accommodate only about two words per minute. The last commercial semaphore link ceased operation in Sweden in 1880. As of 1895, France still operated coastal commercial semaphore telegraph stations, for ship-to-shore communication.

Main article: Electrical telegraph
Cooke and Wheatstone's five-needle, six-wire telegraph (1837)

The early ideas for an electric telegraph included in 1753 using electrostatic deflections of pith balls, proposals for electrochemical bubbles in acid by Campillo in 1804 and von Sömmering in 1809. The first experimental system over a substantial distance was by Ronalds in 1816 using an electrostatic generator. Ronalds offered his invention to the British Admiralty, but it was rejected as unnecessary, the existing optical telegraph connecting the Admiralty in London to their main fleet base in Portsmouth being deemed adequate for their purposes. As late as 1844, after the electrical telegraph had come into use, the Admiralty's optical telegraph was still used, although it was accepted that poor weather ruled it out on many days of the year.: 16, 37 France had an extensive optical telegraph dating from Napoleonic times and was even slower to take up electrical systems.: 217–218

Eventually, electrostatic telegraphs were abandoned in favour of electromagnetic systems. An early experimental system (Schilling, 1832) led to a proposal to establish a telegraph between St Petersburg and Kronstadt, but it was never completed. The first operative electric telegraph (Gauss and Weber, 1833) connected Göttingen Observatory to the Institute of Physics about 1 km away during experimental investigations of the geomagnetic field.

The first commercial telegraph was by Cooke and Wheatstone following their English patent of 10 June 1837. It was demonstrated on the London and Birmingham Railway in July of the same year. In July 1839, a five-needle, five-wire system was installed to provide signalling over a record distance of 21 km on a section of the Great Western Railway between London Paddington station and West Drayton. However, in trying to get railway companies to take up his telegraph more widely for railway signalling, Cooke was rejected several times in favour of the more familiar, but shorter range, steam-powered pneumatic signalling. Even when his telegraph was taken up, it was considered experimental and the company backed out of a plan to finance extending the telegraph line out to Slough. However, this led to a breakthrough for the electric telegraph, as up to this point the Great Western had insisted on exclusive use and refused Cooke permission to open public telegraph offices. Cooke extended the line at his own expense and agreed that the railway could have free use of it in exchange for the right to open it up to the public.: 19–20

A Morse key (c. 1900)

Most of the early electrical systems required multiple wires (Ronalds' system was an exception), but the system developed in the United States by Morse and Vail was a single-wire system. This was the system that first used the soon-to-become-ubiquitous Morse code. By 1844, the Morse system connected Baltimore to Washington, and by 1861 the west coast of the continent was connected to the east coast. The Cooke and Wheatstone telegraph, in a series of improvements, also ended up with a one-wire system, but still using their own code and needle displays.

The electric telegraph quickly became a means of more general communication. The Morse system was officially adopted as the standard for continental European telegraphy in 1851 with a revised code, which later became the basis of International Morse Code. However, Great Britain and the British Empire continued to use the Cooke and Wheatstone system, in some places as late as the 1930s. Likewise, the United States continued to use American Morse code internally, requiring translation operators skilled in both codes for international messages.

An early Cooke and Wheatstone double-needle railway telegraph instrument at the National Railway Museum
A block signalling instrument as used in Britain in the 20th century

Railway signal telegraphy was developed in Britain from the 1840s onward. It was used to manage railway traffic and to prevent accidents as part of the railway signalling system. On 12 June 1837 Cooke and Wheatstone were awarded a patent for an electric telegraph. This was demonstrated between Euston railway station—where Wheatstone was located—and the engine house at Camden Town—where Cooke was stationed, together with Robert Stephenson, the London and Birmingham Railway line's chief engineer. The messages were for the operation of the rope-haulage system for pulling trains up the 1 in 77 bank. The world's first permanent railway telegraph was completed in July 1839 between London Paddington and West Drayton on the Great Western Railway with an electric telegraph using a four-needle system.

The concept of a signalling "block" system was proposed by Cooke in 1842. Railway signal telegraphy did not change in essence from Cooke's initial concept for more than a century. In this system each line of railway was divided into sections or blocks of varying length. Entry to and exit from the block was to be authorised by electric telegraph and signalled by the line-side semaphore signals, so that only a single train could occupy the rails. In Cooke's original system, a single-needle telegraph was adapted to indicate just two messages: "Line Clear" and "Line Blocked". The signaller would adjust his line-side signals accordingly. As first implemented in 1844 each station had as many needles as there were stations on the line, giving a complete picture of the traffic. As lines expanded, a sequence of pairs of single-needle instruments were adopted, one pair for each block in each direction.

Main article: Wigwag (flag signals)

Wigwag is a form of flag signalling using a single flag. Unlike most forms of flag signalling, which are used over relatively short distances, wigwag is designed to maximise the distance covered—up to 32 km (20 mi) in some cases. Wigwag achieved this by using a large flag—a single flag can be held with both hands unlike flag semaphore which has a flag in each hand—and using motions rather than positions as its symbols since motions are more easily seen. It was invented by US Army surgeon Albert J. Myer in the 1850s who later became the first head of the Signal Corps. Wigwag was used extensively during the American Civil War where it filled a gap left by the electrical telegraph. Although the electrical telegraph had been in use for more than a decade, the network did not yet reach everywhere and portable, ruggedized equipment suitable for military use was not immediately available. Permanent or semi-permanent stations were established during the war, some of them towers of enormous height and the system for a while could be described as a communications network.

Australian troops using a Mance mk.V heliograph in the Western Desert in November 1940
Main article: Heliograph
US Forest Service lookout using a Colomb shutter type heliograph in 1912 at the end of a telephone line

A heliograph is a telegraph that transmits messages by flashing sunlight with a mirror, usually using Morse code. The idea for a telegraph of this type was first proposed as a modification of surveying equipment (Gauss, 1821). Various uses of mirrors were made for communication in the following years, mostly for military purposes, but the first device to become widely used was a heliograph with a moveable mirror (Mance, 1869). The system was used by the French during the 1870–71 siege of Paris, with night-time signalling using kerosene lamps as the source of light. An improved version (Begbie, 1870) was used by British military in many colonial wars, including the Anglo-Zulu War (1879). At some point, a morse key was added to the apparatus to give the operator the same degree of control as in the electric telegraph.

Another type of heliograph was the heliostat or heliotrope fitted with a Colomb shutter. The heliostat was essentially a surveying instrument with a fixed mirror and so could not transmit a code by itself. The term heliostat is sometimes used as a synonym for heliograph because of this origin. The Colomb shutter (Bolton and Colomb, 1862) was originally invented to enable the transmission of morse code by signal lamp between Royal Navy ships at sea.

The heliograph was heavily used by Nelson A. Miles in Arizona and New Mexico after he took over command (1886) of the fight against Geronimo and other Apache bands in the Apache Wars. Miles had previously set up the first heliograph line in the US between Fort Keogh and Fort Custer in Montana. He used the heliograph to fill in vast, thinly populated areas that were not covered by the electric telegraph. Twenty-six stations covered an area 320 by 480 km (200 by 300 mi). In a test of the system, a message was relayed 640 km (400 mi) in four hours. Miles' enemies used smoke signals and flashes of sunlight from metal, but lacked a sophisticated telegraph code. The heliograph was ideal for use in the American Southwest due to its clear air and mountainous terrain on which stations could be located. It was found necessary to lengthen the morse dash (which is much shorter in American Morse code than in the modern International Morse code) to aid differentiating from the morse dot.

Use of the heliograph declined from 1915 onwards, but remained in service in Britain and British Commonwealth countries for some time. Australian forces used the heliograph as late as 1942 in the Western Desert Campaign of World War II. Some form of heliograph was used by the mujahideen in the Soviet–Afghan War (1979–1989).

Main article: Teleprinter
A Baudot keyboard, 1884
A Creed Model 7 teleprinter, 1931

A teleprinter is a telegraph machine that can send messages from a typewriter-like keyboard and print incoming messages in readable text with no need for the operators to be trained in the telegraph code used on the line. It developed from various earlier printing telegraphs and resulted in improved transmission speeds. The Morse telegraph (1837) was originally conceived as a system marking indentations on paper tape. A chemical telegraph making blue marks improved the speed of recording (Bain, 1846), but was delayed by a patent challenge from Morse. The first true printing telegraph (that is printing in plain text) used a spinning wheel of types in the manner of a daisy wheel printer (House, 1846, improved by Hughes, 1855). The system was adopted by Western Union.

Early teleprinters used the Baudot code, a five-bit sequential binary code. This was a telegraph code developed for use on the French telegraph using a five-key keyboard (Baudot, 1874). Teleprinters generated the same code from a full alphanumeric keyboard. A feature of the Baudot code, and subsequent telegraph codes, was that, unlike Morse code, every character has a code of the same length making it more machine friendly. The Baudot code was used on the earliest ticker tape machines (Calahan, 1867), a system for mass distributing stock price information.

Creed paper tape reader at The National Museum of Computing
See also: Punched tape

In a punched-tape system, the message is first typed onto punched tape using the code of the telegraph system—Morse code for instance. It is then, either immediately or at some later time, run through a transmission machine which sends the message to the telegraph network. Multiple messages can be sequentially recorded on the same run of tape. The advantage of doing this is that messages can be sent at a steady, fast rate making maximum use of the available telegraph lines. The economic advantage of doing this is greatest on long, busy routes where the cost of the extra step of preparing the tape is outweighed by the cost of providing more telegraph lines. The first machine to use punched tape was Bain's teleprinter (Bain, 1843), but the system saw only limited use. Later versions of Bain's system achieved speeds up to 1000 words per minute, far faster than a human operator could achieve.

The first widely used system (Wheatstone, 1858) was first put into service with the British General Post Office in 1867. A novel feature of the Wheatstone system was the use of bipolar encoding. That is, both positive and negative polarity voltages were used. Bipolar encoding has several advantages, one of which is that it permits duplex communication. The Wheatstone tape reader was capable of a speed of 400 words per minute.: 190

The first message is received by the Submarine Telegraph Company in London from Paris on the Foy–Breguet instrument in 1851. The equipment in the background is a Cooke and Wheatstone set for onward transmission.
The Eastern Telegraph Company network in 1901

A worldwide communication network meant that telegraph cables would have to be laid across oceans. On land cables could be run uninsulated suspended from poles. Underwater, a good insulator that was both flexible and capable of resisting the ingress of seawater was required. A solution presented itself with gutta-percha, a natural rubber from the Palaquium gutta tree, after William Montgomerie sent samples to London from Singapore in 1843. The new material was tested by Michael Faraday and in 1845 Wheatstone suggested that it should be used on the cable planned between Dover and Calais by John Watkins Brett. The idea was proved viable when the South Eastern Railway company successfully tested a three-kilometre (two-mile) gutta-percha insulated cable with telegraph messages to a ship off the coast of Folkstone. The cable to France was laid in 1850 but was almost immediately severed by a French fishing vessel. It was relaid the next year and connections to Ireland and the Low Countries soon followed.

Getting a cable across the Atlantic Ocean proved much more difficult. The Atlantic Telegraph Company, formed in London in 1856, had several failed attempts. A cable laid in 1858 worked poorly for a few days (sometimes taking all day to send a message despite the use of the highly sensitive mirror galvanometer developed by William Thomson (the future Lord Kelvin) before being destroyed by applying too high a voltage. Its failure and slow speed of transmission prompted Thomson and Oliver Heaviside to find better mathematical descriptions of long transmission lines. The company finally succeeded in 1866 with an improved cable laid by SS Great Eastern, the largest ship of its day, designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

An overland telegraph from Britain to India was first connected in 1866 but was unreliable so a submarine telegraph cable was connected in 1870. Several telegraph companies were 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.

From the 1850s until well into the 20th century, British submarine cable systems dominated the world system. This was set out as a formal strategic goal, which became known as the All Red Line. In 1896, there were thirty cable-laying ships in the world and twenty-four of them were owned by British companies. In 1892, British companies owned and operated two-thirds of the world's cables and by 1923, their share was still 42.7 percent. During World War I, Britain's telegraph communications were almost completely uninterrupted while it was able to quickly cut Germany's cables worldwide.

Alexander Bain's facsimile machine, 1850

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. Frederick Bakewell made several improvements on Bain's design and demonstrated a telefax machine. 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.

In 1881, English inventor Shelford Bidwell constructed the scanning phototelegraph that was the first telefax machine to scan any two-dimensional original, not requiring manual plotting or drawing. Around 1900, German physicist Arthur Korn invented the Bildtelegraph widespread in continental Europe especially since a widely noticed transmission of a wanted-person photograph from Paris to London in 1908 used until the wider distribution of the radiofax. Its main competitors were the Bélinographe by Édouard Belin first, then since the 1930s, the Hellschreiber, invented in 1929 by German inventor Rudolf Hell, a pioneer in mechanical image scanning and transmission.

Marconi watching associates raising the kite (a "Levitor" by B.F.S. Baden-Powell) used to lift the antenna at St. John's, Newfoundland, December 1901
Main article: Wireless telegraphy
Post Office Engineers inspect the Marconi Company's equipment at Flat Holm, May 1897

The late 1880s through to the 1890s saw the discovery and then development of a newly understood phenomenon into a form of wireless telegraphy, called Hertzian wave wireless telegraphy, radiotelegraphy, or (later) simply "radio". Between 1886 and 1888, Heinrich Rudolf Hertz published the results of his experiments where he was able to transmit electromagnetic waves (radio waves) through the air, proving James Clerk Maxwell's 1873 theory of electromagnetic radiation. Many scientists and inventors experimented with this new phenomenon but the consensus was that these new waves (similar to light) would be just as short range as light, and, therefore, useless for long range communication.

At the end of 1894, the young Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi began working on the idea of building a commercial wireless telegraphy system based on the use of Hertzian waves (radio waves), a line of inquiry that he noted other inventors did not seem to be pursuing. Building on the ideas of previous scientists and inventors Marconi re-engineered their apparatus by trial and error attempting to build a radio-based wireless telegraphic system that would function the same as wired telegraphy. He would work on the system through 1895 in his lab and then in field tests making improvements to extend its range. After many breakthroughs, including applying the wired telegraphy concept of grounding the transmitter and receiver, Marconi was able, by early 1896, to transmit radio far beyond the short ranges that had been predicted. Having failed to interest the Italian government, the 22-year-old inventor brought his telegraphy system to Britain in 1896 and met William Preece, a Welshman, who was a major figure in the field and Chief Engineer of the General Post Office. A series of demonstrations for the British government followed—by March 1897, Marconi had transmitted Morse code signals over a distance of about 6 km (3+12 mi) across Salisbury Plain.

On 13 May 1897, Marconi, assisted by George Kemp, a Cardiff Post Office engineer, transmitted the first wireless signals over water to Lavernock (near Penarth in Wales) from Flat Holm. The message sent was "ARE YOU READY". From his Fraserburgh base, he transmitted the first long-distance, cross-country wireless signal to Poldhu in Cornwall.[when?][citation needed] His star rising, he was soon sending signals across the English Channel (1899), from shore to ship (1899) and finally across the Atlantic (1901). A study of these demonstrations of radio, with scientists trying to work out how a phenomenon predicted to have a short range could transmit "over the horizon", led to the discovery of a radio reflecting layer in the Earth's atmosphere in 1902, later called the ionosphere.

Radiotelegraphy proved effective for rescue work in sea disasters by enabling effective communication between ships and from ship to shore. In 1904, Marconi began the first commercial service to transmit nightly news summaries to subscribing ships, which could incorporate them into their on-board newspapers. A regular transatlantic radio-telegraph service was finally begun on 17 October 1907. Notably, Marconi's apparatus was used to help rescue efforts after the sinking of RMS Titanic. Britain's postmaster-general summed up, referring to the Titanic disaster, "Those who have been saved, have been saved through one man, Mr. Marconi...and his marvellous invention."

"Telegram" redirects here. For other uses, see Telegram (disambiguation).
Western Union telegram (1930)

A telegram service is a company or public entity that delivers telegraphed messages directly to the recipient. Telegram services were not inaugurated until electric telegraphy became available. Earlier optical systems were largely limited to official government and military purposes.

Historically, telegrams were sent between a network of interconnected telegraph offices. A person visiting a local telegraph office paid by-the-word to have a message telegraphed to another office and delivered to the addressee on a paper form.: 276 Messages sent by telegraph could be delivered by telegram messenger faster than mail, and even in the telephone age, the telegram remained popular for social and business correspondence. At their peak in 1929, an estimated 200 million telegrams were sent.: 274

In 1919, the Central Bureau for Registered Addresses was established in the financial district of New York City. The bureau was created to ease the growing problem of messages being delivered to the wrong recipients. To combat this issue, the bureau offered telegraph customers the option to register unique code names for their telegraph addresses. Customers were charged $2.50 per year per code. By 1934, 28,000 codes had been registered.

Telegram services still operate in much of the world (see worldwide use of telegrams by country), but e-mail and text messaging have rendered telegrams obsolete in many countries, and the number of telegrams sent annually has been declining rapidly since the 1980s. Where telegram services still exist, the transmission method between offices is no longer by telegraph, but by telex or IP link.

Telegram length

As telegrams have been traditionally charged by the word, messages were often abbreviated to pack information into the smallest possible number of words, in what came to be called "telegram style".

The average length of a telegram in the 1900s in the US was 11.93 words; more than half of the messages were 10 words or fewer. According to another study, the mean length of the telegrams sent in the UK before 1950 was 14.6 words or 78.8 characters. For German telegrams, the mean length is 11.5 words or 72.4 characters. At the end of the 19th century, the average length of a German telegram was calculated as 14.2 words.

ITT Creed Model 23B teleprinter with telex dial-up facility
Main article: Telex

Telex (TELegraph EXchange) was a public switched network of teleprinters. It used rotary-telephone-style pulse dialling for automatic routing through the network. It initially used the Baudot code for messages. Telex development began in Germany in 1926, becoming an operational service in 1933 run by the Reichspost (Reich postal service). It had a speed of 50 baud—approximately 66 words per minute. Up to 25 telex channels could share a single long-distance telephone channel by using voice frequency telegraphy multiplexing, making telex the least expensive method of reliable long-distance communication.[citation needed] Telex was introduced into Canada in July 1957, and the United States in 1958. A new code, ASCII, was introduced in 1963 by the American Standards Association. ASCII was a 7-bit code and could thus support a larger number of characters than Baudot. In particular, ASCII supported upper and lower case whereas Baudot was upper case only.

Telegraph use began to permanently decline around 1920.: 248 The decline began with the growth of the use of the telephone.: 253 Ironically, the invention of the telephone grew out of the development of the harmonic telegraph, a device which was supposed to increase the efficiency of telegraph transmission and improve the profits of telegraph companies. Western Union gave up their patent battle with Alexander Graham Bell because they believed the telephone was not a threat to their telegraph business. The Bell Telephone Company was formed in 1877 and had 230 subscribers which grew to 30,000 by 1880. By 1886 there were a quarter of a million phones worldwide,: 276–277 and nearly 2 million by 1900.: 204 The decline was briefly postponed by the rise of special occasion congratulatory telegrams. Traffic continued to grow between 1867 and 1893 despite the introduction of the telephone in this period,: 274 but by 1900 the telegraph was definitely in decline.: 277

There was a brief resurgence in telegraphy during World War I but the decline continued as the world entered the Great Depression years of the 1930s.: 277 After the Second World War new technology improved communication in the telegraph industry. Telegraph lines continued to be an important means of distributing news feeds from news agencies by teleprinter machine until the rise of the internet in the 1990s. For Western Union, one service remained highly profitable—the wire transfer of money. This service kept Western Union in business long after the telegraph had ceased to be important.: 277 In the modern era, the telegraph that began in 1837 has been gradually replaced by digital data transmission based on computer information systems.

Optical telegraph lines were installed by governments, often for a military purpose, and reserved for official use only. In many countries, this situation continued after the introduction of the electric telegraph. Starting in Germany and the UK, electric telegraph lines were installed by railway companies. Railway use quickly led to private telegraph companies in the UK and the US offering a telegraph service to the public using telegraph along railway lines. The availability of this new form of communication brought on widespread social and economic changes.

The electric telegraph freed communication from the time constraints of postal mail and revolutionized the global economy and society. By the end of the 19th century, the telegraph was becoming an increasingly common medium of communication for ordinary people. The telegraph isolated the message (information) from the physical movement of objects or the process.

There was some fear of the new technology. According to author Allan J. Kimmel, some people "feared that the telegraph would erode the quality of public discourse through the transmission of irrelevant, context-free information." Henry David Thoreau thought of the Transatlantic cable "...perchance the first news that will leak through into the broad flapping American ear will be that Princess Adelaide has the whooping cough." Kimmel says these fears anticipate many of the characteristics of the modern internet age.

Initially, the telegraph was expensive, but it had an enormous effect on three industries: finance, newspapers, and railways. Telegraphy facilitated the growth of organizations "in the railroads, consolidated financial and commodity markets, and reduced information costs within and between firms". In the US, there were 200 to 300 stock exchanges before the telegraph, but most of these were unnecessary and unprofitable once the telegraph made financial transactions at a distance easy and drove down transaction costs.: 274–275 This immense growth in the business sectors influenced society to embrace the use of telegrams once the cost had fallen.

Worldwide telegraphy changed the gathering of information for news reporting. Journalists were using the telegraph for war reporting as early as 1846 when the Mexican–American War broke out. News agencies were formed, such as the Associated Press, for the purpose of reporting news by telegraph.: 274–275 Messages and information would now travel far and wide, and the telegraph demanded a language "stripped of the local, the regional; and colloquial", to better facilitate a worldwide media language. Media language had to be standardized, which led to the gradual disappearance of different forms of speech and styles of journalism and storytelling.

The spread of the railways created a need for an accurate standard time to replace local arbitrary standards based on local noon. The means of achieving this synchronisation was the telegraph. This emphasis on precise time has led to major societal changes such as the concept of the time value of money.: 273–274

During the telegraph era there was widespread employment of women in telegraphy. The shortage of men to work as telegraph operators in the American Civil War opened up the opportunity for women of a well-paid skilled job.: 274 In the UK, there was widespread employment of women as telegraph operators even earlier – from the 1850s by all the major companies. The attraction of women for the telegraph companies was that they could pay them less than men. Nevertheless, the jobs were popular with women for the same reason as in the US; most other work available for women was very poorly paid.: 77: 85

The economic impact of the telegraph was not much studied by economic historians until parallels started to be drawn with the rise of the internet. In fact, the electric telegraph was as important as the invention of printing in this respect. According to economist Ronnie J. Phillips, the reason for this may be that institutional economists paid more attention to advances that required greater capital investment. The investment required to build railways, for instance, is orders of magnitude greater than that for the telegraph.: 269–270

The optical telegraph was quickly forgotten once it went out of service. While it was in operation, it was very familiar to the public across Europe. Examples appear in many paintings of the period. Poems include Le Telégraphe, by Victor Hugo, and the collection Telegrafen: Optisk kalender för 1858 by Elias Sehlstedt [sv] is dedicated to the telegraph. In novels, the telegraph is a major component in Lucien Leuwen by Stendhal, and it features in The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas.: vii–ix Joseph Chudy's 1796 opera, Der Telegraph oder die Fernschreibmaschine, was written to publicise Chudy's telegraph (a binary code with five lamps) when it became clear that Chappe's design was being taken up.: 42–43

An illustration declaring that the submarine cable between England and France would bring those countries peace and goodwill

Rudyard Kipling wrote a poem in praise of submarine telegraph cables; "And a new Word runs between: whispering, 'Let us be one!'" Kipling's poem represented a widespread idea in the late nineteenth century that international telegraphy (and new technology in general) would bring peace and mutual understanding to the world. When a submarine telegraph cable first connected America and Britain, the Post declared;

It is the harbinger of an age when international difficulties will not have time to ripen into bloody results, and when, in spite of the fatuity and perveseness of rulers, war will be impossible.

Newspaper names

Numerous newspapers and news outlets in various countries, such as The Daily Telegraph in Britain, The Telegraph in India, De Telegraaf in the Netherlands, and the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in the US, were given names which include the word "telegraph" due to their having received news by means of electric telegraphy. Some of these names are retained even though different means of news acquisition are now used.

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Technology

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Wikimedia Commons has media related toTelegraphy.

Telegraphy Article Talk Language Watch Edit 160 160 Redirected from Telegram This article is about telegraphy generally For telegraphy over conducting wires see Electrical telegraph For the ship s telegraph see Engine order telegraph Telegraph and Telegram redirect here For other uses see The Telegraph disambiguation Telegraph disambiguation Telegram software and Telegram disambiguation Telegraphy is the long distance transmission of messages where the sender uses symbolic codes known to the recipient rather than a physical exchange of an object bearing the message Thus flag semaphore is a method of telegraphy whereas pigeon post is not Ancient signalling systems although sometimes quite extensive and sophisticated as in China were generally not capable of transmitting arbitrary text messages Possible messages were fixed and predetermined and such systems are thus not true telegraphs Replica of Claude Chappe s optical telegraph on the Litermont near Nalbach Germany The earliest true telegraph put into widespread use was the optical telegraph of Claude Chappe invented in the late 18th century The system was used extensively in France and European nations occupied by France during the Napoleonic era The electric telegraph started to replace the optical telegraph in the mid 19th century It was first taken up in Britain in the form of the Cooke and Wheatstone telegraph initially used mostly as an aid to railway signalling This was quickly followed by a different system developed in the United States by Samuel Morse The electric telegraph was slower to develop in France due to the established optical telegraph system but an electrical telegraph was put into use with a code compatible with the Chappe optical telegraph The Morse system was adopted as the international standard in 1865 using a modified Morse code developed in Germany in 1848 1 The heliograph is a telegraph system using reflected sunlight for signalling It was mainly used in areas where the electrical telegraph had not been established and generally used the same code The most extensive heliograph network established was in Arizona and New Mexico during the Apache Wars The heliograph was standard military equipment as late as World War II Wireless telegraphy developed in the early 20th century became important for maritime use and was a competitor to electrical telegraphy using submarine telegraph cables in international communications Telegrams became a popular means of sending messages once telegraph prices had fallen sufficiently Traffic became high enough to spur the development of automated systems teleprinters and punched tape transmission These systems led to new telegraph codes starting with the Baudot code However telegrams were never able to compete with the letter post on price and competition from the telephone which removed their speed advantage drove the telegraph into decline from 1920 onwards The few remaining telegraph applications were largely taken over by alternatives on the internet towards the end of the 20th century Contents 1 Terminology 2 Early signalling 3 Drum telegraph 4 Optical telegraph 5 Electrical telegraph 6 Railway telegraphy 7 Wigwag 8 Heliograph 9 Teleprinter 10 Automated punched tape transmission 11 Oceanic telegraph cables 12 Facsimile 13 Wireless telegraphy 14 Telegram services 14 1 Telegram length 15 Telex 16 Decline 17 Social implications 18 Popular culture 18 1 Newspaper names 19 See also 20 References 21 Further reading 21 1 Technology 22 External linksTerminology EditThe word telegraph from Ancient Greek tῆle tele at a distance and grafein graphein to write was first coined by the French inventor of the semaphore telegraph Claude Chappe who also coined the word semaphore 2 A telegraph is a device 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 transmission of messages over radio with telegraphic codes Contrary to the extensive definition used by Chappe Morse argued that the term telegraph can strictly be applied only to systems that transmit and record messages at a distance This is to be distinguished from semaphore which merely transmits messages Smoke signals for instance are to be considered semaphore not telegraph According to Morse telegraph dates only from 1832 when Pavel Schilling invented one of the earliest electrical telegraphs 3 A telegraph message sent by an electrical telegraph operator or telegrapher using Morse code or a printing telegraph operator using plain text was known as a telegram A cablegram was a message sent by a submarine telegraph cable 4 often shortened to cable or wire Later a Telex was a message sent by a Telex network a switched network of teleprinters similar to a telephone network A wirephoto or wire picture was a newspaper picture that was sent from a remote location by a facsimile telegraph A diplomatic telegram also known as a diplomatic cable is a confidential communication between a diplomatic mission and the foreign ministry of its parent country 5 6 These continue to be called telegrams or cables regardless of the method used for transmission Early signalling Edit Great Wall of China Passing messages by signalling over distance is an ancient practice One of the oldest examples is the signal towers of the Great Wall of China In 400 BC signals could be sent by beacon fires or drum beats By 200 BC complex flag signalling had developed and by the Han dynasty 200 BC 220 AD signallers had a choice of lights flags or gunshots to send signals By the Tang dynasty 618 907 a message could be sent 1 100 kilometres 700 mi in 24 hours The Ming dynasty 1368 1644 added artillery to the possible signals While the signalling was complex for instance different coloured flags could be used to indicate enemy strength only predetermined messages could be sent 7 The Chinese signalling system extended well beyond the Great Wall Signal towers away from the wall were used to give early warning of an attack Others were built even further out as part of the protection of trade routes especially the Silk Road 8 Signal fires were widely used in Europe and elsewhere for military purposes The Roman army made frequent use of them as did their enemies and the remains of some of the stations still exist Few details have been recorded of European Mediterranean signalling systems and the possible messages One of the few for which details are known is a system invented by Aeneas Tacticus 4th century BC Tacticus s system had water filled pots at the two signal stations which were drained in synchronisation Annotation on a floating scale indicated which message was being sent or received Signals sent by means of torches indicated when to start and stop draining to keep the synchronisation 9 None of the signalling systems discussed above are true telegraphs in the sense of a system that can transmit arbitrary messages over arbitrary distances Lines of signalling relay stations can send messages to any required distance but all these systems are limited to one extent or another in the range of messages that they can send A system like flag semaphore with an alphabetic code can certainly send any given message but the system is designed for short range communication between two persons An engine order telegraph used to send instructions from the bridge of a ship to the engine room fails to meet both criteria it has a limited distance and very simple message set There was only one ancient signalling system described that does meet these criteria That was a system using the Polybius square to encode an alphabet Polybius 2nd century BC suggested using two successive groups of torches to identify the coordinates of the letter of the alphabet being transmitted The number of said torches held up signalled the grid square that contained the letter There is no definite record of the system ever being used but there are several passages in ancient texts that some think are suggestive Holzmann and Pehrson for instance suggest that Livy is describing its use by Philip V of Macedon in 207 BC during the First Macedonian War Nothing else that could be described as a true telegraph existed until the 17th century 9 10 26 29 Possibly the first alphabetic telegraph code in the modern era is due to Franz Kessler who published his work in 1616 Kessler used a lamp placed inside a barrel with a moveable shutter operated by the signaller The signals were observed at a distance with the newly invented telescope 10 32 34 Drum telegraph EditMain article Drums in communication In several places around the world a system of passing messages from village to village using drum beats was developed This was particularly highly developed in Africa At the time of its discovery in Africa the speed of message transmission was faster than any existing European system using optical telegraphs The African drum system was not alphabetical Rather the drum beats followed the tones of the language This made messages highly ambiguous and context was important for their correct interpretation 11 Optical telegraph Edit Schematic of a Prussian optical telegraph or semaphore tower c 1835 19th century demonstration of the semaphore Main article Optical telegraph An optical telegraph is a telegraph consisting of a line of stations in towers or natural high points which signal to each other by means of shutters or paddles Signalling by means of indicator pointers was called semaphore Early proposals for an optical telegraph system were made to the Royal Society by Robert Hooke in 1684 12 and were first implemented on an experimental level by Sir Richard Lovell Edgeworth in 1767 13 The first successful optical telegraph network was invented by Claude Chappe and operated in France from 1793 14 The two most extensive systems were Chappe s in France with branches into neighbouring countries and the system of Abraham Niclas Edelcrantz in Sweden 10 ix x 47 During 1790 1795 at the height of the French Revolution France needed a swift and reliable communication system to thwart the war efforts of its enemies In 1790 the Chappe brothers set about devising a system of communication that would allow the central government to receive intelligence and to transmit orders in the shortest possible time On 2 March 1791 at 11 am they sent the message si vous reussissez vous serez bientot couverts de gloire If you succeed you will soon bask in glory between Brulon and Parce a distance of 16 kilometres 10 mi The first means used a combination of black and white panels clocks telescopes and codebooks to send their message In 1792 Claude was appointed Ingenieur Telegraphiste and charged with establishing a line of stations between Paris and Lille a distance of 230 kilometres 140 mi It was used to carry dispatches for the war between France and Austria In 1794 it brought news of a French capture of Conde sur l Escaut from the Austrians less than an hour after it occurred 15 A decision to replace the system with an electric telegraph was made in 1846 but it took a decade before it was fully taken out of service The fall of Sebastopol was reported by Chappe telegraph in 1855 10 92 94 The Prussian system was put into effect in the 1830s However they were highly dependent on good weather and daylight to work and even then could accommodate only about two words per minute The last commercial semaphore link ceased operation in Sweden in 1880 As of 1895 France still operated coastal commercial semaphore telegraph stations for ship to shore communication 16 Electrical telegraph EditMain article Electrical telegraph See also Electrical telegraphy in the United Kingdom Cooke and Wheatstone s five needle six wire telegraph 1837 The early ideas for an electric telegraph included in 1753 using electrostatic deflections of pith balls 17 proposals for electrochemical bubbles in acid by Campillo in 1804 and von Sommering in 1809 18 19 The first experimental system over a substantial distance was by Ronalds in 1816 using an electrostatic generator Ronalds offered his invention to the British Admiralty but it was rejected as unnecessary 20 the existing optical telegraph connecting the Admiralty in London to their main fleet base in Portsmouth being deemed adequate for their purposes As late as 1844 after the electrical telegraph had come into use the Admiralty s optical telegraph was still used although it was accepted that poor weather ruled it out on many days of the year 21 16 37 France had an extensive optical telegraph dating from Napoleonic times and was even slower to take up electrical systems 22 217 218 Eventually electrostatic telegraphs were abandoned in favour of electromagnetic systems An early experimental system Schilling 1832 led to a proposal to establish a telegraph between St Petersburg and Kronstadt but it was never completed 23 The first operative electric telegraph Gauss and Weber 1833 connected Gottingen Observatory to the Institute of Physics about 1 km away during experimental investigations of the geomagnetic field 24 The first commercial telegraph was by Cooke and Wheatstone following their English patent of 10 June 1837 It was demonstrated on the London and Birmingham Railway in July of the same year 25 In July 1839 a five needle five wire system was installed to provide signalling over a record distance of 21 km on a section of the Great Western Railway between London Paddington station and West Drayton 26 27 However in trying to get railway companies to take up his telegraph more widely for railway signalling Cooke was rejected several times in favour of the more familiar but shorter range steam powered pneumatic signalling Even when his telegraph was taken up it was considered experimental and the company backed out of a plan to finance extending the telegraph line out to Slough However this led to a breakthrough for the electric telegraph as up to this point the Great Western had insisted on exclusive use and refused Cooke permission to open public telegraph offices Cooke extended the line at his own expense and agreed that the railway could have free use of it in exchange for the right to open it up to the public 21 19 20 A Morse key c 1900 Most of the early electrical systems required multiple wires Ronalds system was an exception but the system developed in the United States by Morse and Vail was a single wire system This was the system that first used the soon to become ubiquitous Morse code 25 By 1844 the Morse system connected Baltimore to Washington and by 1861 the west coast of the continent was connected to the east coast 28 29 The Cooke and Wheatstone telegraph in a series of improvements also ended up with a one wire system but still using their own code and needle displays 26 The electric telegraph quickly became a means of more general communication The Morse system was officially adopted as the standard for continental European telegraphy in 1851 with a revised code which later became the basis of International Morse Code 30 However Great Britain and the British Empire continued to use the Cooke and Wheatstone system in some places as late as the 1930s 26 Likewise the United States continued to use American Morse code internally requiring translation operators skilled in both codes for international messages 30 Railway telegraphy Edit An early Cooke and Wheatstone double needle railway telegraph instrument at the National Railway Museum A block signalling instrument as used in Britain in the 20th century See also Railway signalling Railway signal telegraphy was developed in Britain from the 1840s onward It was used to manage railway traffic and to prevent accidents as part of the railway signalling system On 12 June 1837 Cooke and Wheatstone were awarded a patent for an electric telegraph 31 This was demonstrated between Euston railway station where Wheatstone was located and the engine house at Camden Town where Cooke was stationed together with Robert Stephenson the London and Birmingham Railway line s chief engineer The messages were for the operation of the rope haulage system for pulling trains up the 1 in 77 bank The world s first permanent railway telegraph was completed in July 1839 between London Paddington and West Drayton on the Great Western Railway with an electric telegraph using a four needle system The concept of a signalling block system was proposed by Cooke in 1842 Railway signal telegraphy did not change in essence from Cooke s initial concept for more than a century In this system each line of railway was divided into sections or blocks of varying length Entry to and exit from the block was to be authorised by electric telegraph and signalled by the line side semaphore signals so that only a single train could occupy the rails In Cooke s original system a single needle telegraph was adapted to indicate just two messages Line Clear and Line Blocked The signaller would adjust his line side signals accordingly As first implemented in 1844 each station had as many needles as there were stations on the line giving a complete picture of the traffic As lines expanded a sequence of pairs of single needle instruments were adopted one pair for each block in each direction 32 Wigwag EditMain article Wigwag flag signals Wigwag is a form of flag signalling using a single flag Unlike most forms of flag signalling which are used over relatively short distances wigwag is designed to maximise the distance covered up to 32 km 20 mi in some cases Wigwag achieved this by using a large flag a single flag can be held with both hands unlike flag semaphore which has a flag in each hand and using motions rather than positions as its symbols since motions are more easily seen It was invented by US Army surgeon Albert J Myer in the 1850s who later became the first head of the Signal Corps Wigwag was used extensively during the American Civil War where it filled a gap left by the electrical telegraph Although the electrical telegraph had been in use for more than a decade the network did not yet reach everywhere and portable ruggedized equipment suitable for military use was not immediately available Permanent or semi permanent stations were established during the war some of them towers of enormous height and the system for a while could be described as a communications network 33 34 Heliograph Edit Australian troops using a Mance mk V heliograph in the Western Desert in November 1940 Main article Heliograph US Forest Service lookout using a Colomb shutter type heliograph in 1912 at the end of a telephone line A heliograph is a telegraph that transmits messages by flashing sunlight with a mirror usually using Morse code The idea for a telegraph of this type was first proposed as a modification of surveying equipment Gauss 1821 Various uses of mirrors were made for communication in the following years mostly for military purposes but the first device to become widely used was a heliograph with a moveable mirror Mance 1869 The system was used by the French during the 1870 71 siege of Paris with night time signalling using kerosene lamps as the source of light An improved version Begbie 1870 was used by British military in many colonial wars including the Anglo Zulu War 1879 At some point a morse key was added to the apparatus to give the operator the same degree of control as in the electric telegraph 35 Another type of heliograph was the heliostat or heliotrope fitted with a Colomb shutter The heliostat was essentially a surveying instrument with a fixed mirror and so could not transmit a code by itself The term heliostat is sometimes used as a synonym for heliograph because of this origin The Colomb shutter Bolton and Colomb 1862 was originally invented to enable the transmission of morse code by signal lamp between Royal Navy ships at sea 35 The heliograph was heavily used by Nelson A Miles in Arizona and New Mexico after he took over command 1886 of the fight against Geronimo and other Apache bands in the Apache Wars Miles had previously set up the first heliograph line in the US between Fort Keogh and Fort Custer in Montana He used the heliograph to fill in vast thinly populated areas that were not covered by the electric telegraph Twenty six stations covered an area 320 by 480 km 200 by 300 mi In a test of the system a message was relayed 640 km 400 mi in four hours Miles enemies used smoke signals and flashes of sunlight from metal but lacked a sophisticated telegraph code 36 The heliograph was ideal for use in the American Southwest due to its clear air and mountainous terrain on which stations could be located It was found necessary to lengthen the morse dash which is much shorter in American Morse code than in the modern International Morse code to aid differentiating from the morse dot 35 Use of the heliograph declined from 1915 onwards but remained in service in Britain and British Commonwealth countries for some time Australian forces used the heliograph as late as 1942 in the Western Desert Campaign of World War II Some form of heliograph was used by the mujahideen in the Soviet Afghan War 1979 1989 35 Teleprinter EditMain article Teleprinter A Baudot keyboard 1884 A Creed Model 7 teleprinter 1931 A teleprinter is a telegraph machine that can send messages from a typewriter like keyboard and print incoming messages in readable text with no need for the operators to be trained in the telegraph code used on the line It developed from various earlier printing telegraphs and resulted in improved transmission speeds 37 The Morse telegraph 1837 was originally conceived as a system marking indentations on paper tape A chemical telegraph making blue marks improved the speed of recording Bain 1846 but was delayed by a patent challenge from Morse The first true printing telegraph that is printing in plain text used a spinning wheel of types in the manner of a daisy wheel printer House 1846 improved by Hughes 1855 The system was adopted by Western Union 38 Early teleprinters used the Baudot code a five bit sequential binary code This was a telegraph code developed for use on the French telegraph using a five key keyboard Baudot 1874 Teleprinters generated the same code from a full alphanumeric keyboard A feature of the Baudot code and subsequent telegraph codes was that unlike Morse code every character has a code of the same length making it more machine friendly 39 The Baudot code was used on the earliest ticker tape machines Calahan 1867 a system for mass distributing stock price information 40 Automated punched tape transmission Edit Creed paper tape reader at The National Museum of Computing See also Punched tape In a punched tape system the message is first typed onto punched tape using the code of the telegraph system Morse code for instance It is then either immediately or at some later time run through a transmission machine which sends the message to the telegraph network Multiple messages can be sequentially recorded on the same run of tape The advantage of doing this is that messages can be sent at a steady fast rate making maximum use of the available telegraph lines The economic advantage of doing this is greatest on long busy routes where the cost of the extra step of preparing the tape is outweighed by the cost of providing more telegraph lines The first machine to use punched tape was Bain s teleprinter Bain 1843 but the system saw only limited use Later versions of Bain s system achieved speeds up to 1000 words per minute far faster than a human operator could achieve 41 The first widely used system Wheatstone 1858 was first put into service with the British General Post Office in 1867 A novel feature of the Wheatstone system was the use of bipolar encoding That is both positive and negative polarity voltages were used 42 Bipolar encoding has several advantages one of which is that it permits duplex communication 43 The Wheatstone tape reader was capable of a speed of 400 words per minute 44 190 Oceanic telegraph cables Edit The first message is received by the Submarine Telegraph Company in London from Paris on the Foy Breguet instrument in 1851 The equipment in the background is a Cooke and Wheatstone set for onward transmission Main articles Transatlantic telegraph cable and Submarine communications cable The Eastern Telegraph Company network in 1901 A worldwide communication network meant that telegraph cables would have to be laid across oceans On land cables could be run uninsulated suspended from poles Underwater a good insulator that was both flexible and capable of resisting the ingress of seawater was required A solution presented itself with gutta percha a natural rubber from the Palaquium gutta tree after William Montgomerie sent samples to London from Singapore in 1843 The new material was tested by Michael Faraday and in 1845 Wheatstone suggested that it should be used on the cable planned between Dover and Calais by John Watkins Brett The idea was proved viable when the South Eastern Railway company successfully tested a three kilometre two mile gutta percha insulated cable with telegraph messages to a ship off the coast of Folkstone 45 The cable to France was laid in 1850 but was almost immediately severed by a French fishing vessel 46 It was relaid the next year 46 and connections to Ireland and the Low Countries soon followed Getting a cable across the Atlantic Ocean proved much more difficult The Atlantic Telegraph Company formed in London in 1856 had several failed attempts A cable laid in 1858 worked poorly for a few days sometimes taking all day to send a message despite the use of the highly sensitive mirror galvanometer developed by William Thomson the future Lord Kelvin before being destroyed by applying too high a voltage Its failure and slow speed of transmission prompted Thomson and Oliver Heaviside to find better mathematical descriptions of long transmission lines 47 The company finally succeeded in 1866 with an improved cable laid by SS Great Eastern the largest ship of its day designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel 48 47 An overland telegraph from Britain to India was first connected in 1866 but was unreliable so a submarine telegraph cable was connected in 1870 49 Several telegraph companies were 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 50 From the 1850s until well into the 20th century British submarine cable systems dominated the world system This was set out as a formal strategic goal which became known as the All Red Line 51 In 1896 there were thirty cable laying ships in the world and twenty four of them were owned by British companies In 1892 British companies owned and operated two thirds of the world s cables and by 1923 their share was still 42 7 percent 52 During World War I Britain s telegraph communications were almost completely uninterrupted while it was able to quickly cut Germany s cables worldwide 51 Facsimile Edit Alexander Bain s facsimile machine 1850 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 Frederick Bakewell made several improvements on Bain s design and demonstrated a telefax machine 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 53 54 In 1881 English inventor Shelford Bidwell constructed the scanning phototelegraph that was the first telefax machine to scan any two dimensional original not requiring manual plotting or drawing Around 1900 German physicist Arthur Korn invented the Bildtelegraph widespread in continental Europe especially since a widely noticed transmission of a wanted person photograph from Paris to London in 1908 used until the wider distribution of the radiofax Its main competitors were the Belinographe by Edouard Belin first then since the 1930s the Hellschreiber invented in 1929 by German inventor Rudolf Hell a pioneer in mechanical image scanning and transmission Wireless telegraphy Edit Marconi watching associates raising the kite a Levitor by B F S Baden Powell 55 used to lift the antenna at St John s Newfoundland December 1901 Main article Wireless telegraphy Post Office Engineers inspect the Marconi Company s equipment at Flat Holm May 1897 The late 1880s through to the 1890s saw the discovery and then development of a newly understood phenomenon into a form of wireless telegraphy called Hertzian wave wireless telegraphy radiotelegraphy or later simply radio Between 1886 and 1888 Heinrich Rudolf Hertz published the results of his experiments where he was able to transmit electromagnetic waves radio waves through the air proving James Clerk Maxwell s 1873 theory of electromagnetic radiation Many scientists and inventors experimented with this new phenomenon but the consensus was that these new waves similar to light would be just as short range as light and therefore useless for long range communication 56 At the end of 1894 the young Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi began working on the idea of building a commercial wireless telegraphy system based on the use of Hertzian waves radio waves a line of inquiry that he noted other inventors did not seem to be pursuing 57 Building on the ideas of previous scientists and inventors Marconi re engineered their apparatus by trial and error attempting to build a radio based wireless telegraphic system that would function the same as wired telegraphy He would work on the system through 1895 in his lab and then in field tests making improvements to extend its range After many breakthroughs including applying the wired telegraphy concept of grounding the transmitter and receiver Marconi was able by early 1896 to transmit radio far beyond the short ranges that had been predicted 58 Having failed to interest the Italian government the 22 year old inventor brought his telegraphy system to Britain in 1896 and met William Preece a Welshman who was a major figure in the field and Chief Engineer of the General Post Office A series of demonstrations for the British government followed by March 1897 Marconi had transmitted Morse code signals over a distance of about 6 km 3 1 2 mi across Salisbury Plain On 13 May 1897 Marconi assisted by George Kemp a Cardiff Post Office engineer transmitted the first wireless signals over water to Lavernock near Penarth in Wales from Flat Holm 59 The message sent was ARE YOU READY From his Fraserburgh base he transmitted the first long distance cross country wireless signal to Poldhu in Cornwall when citation needed His star rising he was soon sending signals across the English Channel 1899 from shore to ship 1899 and finally across the Atlantic 1901 60 A study of these demonstrations of radio with scientists trying to work out how a phenomenon predicted to have a short range could transmit over the horizon led to the discovery of a radio reflecting layer in the Earth s atmosphere in 1902 later called the ionosphere 61 Radiotelegraphy proved effective for rescue work in sea disasters by enabling effective communication between ships and from ship to shore In 1904 Marconi began the first commercial service to transmit nightly news summaries to subscribing ships which could incorporate them into their on board newspapers A regular transatlantic radio telegraph service was finally begun on 17 October 1907 62 63 Notably Marconi s apparatus was used to help rescue efforts after the sinking of RMS Titanic Britain s postmaster general summed up referring to the Titanic disaster Those who have been saved have been saved through one man Mr Marconi and his marvellous invention Telegram services Edit Telegram redirects here For other uses see Telegram disambiguation Western Union telegram 1930 A telegram service is a company or public entity that delivers telegraphed messages directly to the recipient Telegram services were not inaugurated until electric telegraphy became available Earlier optical systems were largely limited to official government and military purposes Historically telegrams were sent between a network of interconnected telegraph offices A person visiting a local telegraph office paid by the word to have a message telegraphed to another office and delivered to the addressee on a paper form 64 276 Messages sent by telegraph could be delivered by telegram messenger faster than mail 40 and even in the telephone age the telegram remained popular for social and business correspondence At their peak in 1929 an estimated 200 million telegrams were sent 64 274 In 1919 the Central Bureau for Registered Addresses was established in the financial district of New York City The bureau was created to ease the growing problem of messages being delivered to the wrong recipients To combat this issue the bureau offered telegraph customers the option to register unique code names for their telegraph addresses Customers were charged 2 50 per year per code By 1934 28 000 codes had been registered 65 Telegram services still operate in much of the world see worldwide use of telegrams by country but e mail and text messaging have rendered telegrams obsolete in many countries and the number of telegrams sent annually has been declining rapidly since the 1980s 66 Where telegram services still exist the transmission method between offices is no longer by telegraph but by telex or IP link 67 Telegram length Edit As telegrams have been traditionally charged by the word messages were often abbreviated to pack information into the smallest possible number of words in what came to be called telegram style The average length of a telegram in the 1900s in the US was 11 93 words more than half of the messages were 10 words or fewer 68 According to another study the mean length of the telegrams sent in the UK before 1950 was 14 6 words or 78 8 characters 69 For German telegrams the mean length is 11 5 words or 72 4 characters 69 At the end of the 19th century the average length of a German telegram was calculated as 14 2 words 69 Telex Edit ITT Creed Model 23B teleprinter with telex dial up facility Main article Telex Telex TELegraph EXchange was a public switched network of teleprinters It used rotary telephone style pulse dialling for automatic routing through the network It initially used the Baudot code for messages Telex development began in Germany in 1926 becoming an operational service in 1933 run by the Reichspost Reich postal service It had a speed of 50 baud approximately 66 words per minute Up to 25 telex channels could share a single long distance telephone channel by using voice frequency telegraphy multiplexing making telex the least expensive method of reliable long distance communication citation needed Telex was introduced into Canada in July 1957 and the United States in 1958 70 A new code ASCII was introduced in 1963 by the American Standards Association ASCII was a 7 bit code and could thus support a larger number of characters than Baudot In particular ASCII supported upper and lower case whereas Baudot was upper case only Decline EditTelegraph use began to permanently decline around 1920 21 248 The decline began with the growth of the use of the telephone 21 253 Ironically the invention of the telephone grew out of the development of the harmonic telegraph a device which was supposed to increase the efficiency of telegraph transmission and improve the profits of telegraph companies Western Union gave up their patent battle with Alexander Graham Bell because they believed the telephone was not a threat to their telegraph business The Bell Telephone Company was formed in 1877 and had 230 subscribers which grew to 30 000 by 1880 By 1886 there were a quarter of a million phones worldwide 64 276 277 and nearly 2 million by 1900 44 204 The decline was briefly postponed by the rise of special occasion congratulatory telegrams Traffic continued to grow between 1867 and 1893 despite the introduction of the telephone in this period 64 274 but by 1900 the telegraph was definitely in decline 64 277 There was a brief resurgence in telegraphy during World War I but the decline continued as the world entered the Great Depression years of the 1930s 64 277 After the Second World War new technology improved communication in the telegraph industry 71 Telegraph lines continued to be an important means of distributing news feeds from news agencies by teleprinter machine until the rise of the internet in the 1990s For Western Union one service remained highly profitable the wire transfer of money This service kept Western Union in business long after the telegraph had ceased to be important 64 277 In the modern era the telegraph that began in 1837 has been gradually replaced by digital data transmission based on computer information systems 71 Social implications EditOptical telegraph lines were installed by governments often for a military purpose and reserved for official use only In many countries this situation continued after the introduction of the electric telegraph Starting in Germany and the UK electric telegraph lines were installed by railway companies Railway use quickly led to private telegraph companies in the UK and the US offering a telegraph service to the public using telegraph along railway lines The availability of this new form of communication brought on widespread social and economic changes The electric telegraph freed communication from the time constraints of postal mail and revolutionized the global economy and society 72 73 By the end of the 19th century the telegraph was becoming an increasingly common medium of communication for ordinary people The telegraph isolated the message information from the physical movement of objects or the process 74 There was some fear of the new technology According to author Allan J Kimmel some people feared that the telegraph would erode the quality of public discourse through the transmission of irrelevant context free information Henry David Thoreau thought of the Transatlantic cable perchance the first news that will leak through into the broad flapping American ear will be that Princess Adelaide has the whooping cough Kimmel says these fears anticipate many of the characteristics of the modern internet age 75 Initially the telegraph was expensive but it had an enormous effect on three industries finance newspapers and railways Telegraphy facilitated the growth of organizations in the railroads consolidated financial and commodity markets and reduced information costs within and between firms 73 In the US there were 200 to 300 stock exchanges before the telegraph but most of these were unnecessary and unprofitable once the telegraph made financial transactions at a distance easy and drove down transaction costs 64 274 275 This immense growth in the business sectors influenced society to embrace the use of telegrams once the cost had fallen Worldwide telegraphy changed the gathering of information for news reporting Journalists were using the telegraph for war reporting as early as 1846 when the Mexican American War broke out News agencies were formed such as the Associated Press for the purpose of reporting news by telegraph 64 274 275 Messages and information would now travel far and wide and the telegraph demanded a language stripped of the local the regional and colloquial to better facilitate a worldwide media language 74 Media language had to be standardized which led to the gradual disappearance of different forms of speech and styles of journalism and storytelling The spread of the railways created a need for an accurate standard time to replace local arbitrary standards based on local noon The means of achieving this synchronisation was the telegraph This emphasis on precise time has led to major societal changes such as the concept of the time value of money 64 273 274 During the telegraph era there was widespread employment of women in telegraphy The shortage of men to work as telegraph operators in the American Civil War opened up the opportunity for women of a well paid skilled job 64 274 In the UK there was widespread employment of women as telegraph operators even earlier from the 1850s by all the major companies The attraction of women for the telegraph companies was that they could pay them less than men Nevertheless the jobs were popular with women for the same reason as in the US most other work available for women was very poorly paid 39 77 21 85 The economic impact of the telegraph was not much studied by economic historians until parallels started to be drawn with the rise of the internet In fact the electric telegraph was as important as the invention of printing in this respect According to economist Ronnie J Phillips the reason for this may be that institutional economists paid more attention to advances that required greater capital investment The investment required to build railways for instance is orders of magnitude greater than that for the telegraph 64 269 270 Popular culture EditThe optical telegraph was quickly forgotten once it went out of service While it was in operation it was very familiar to the public across Europe Examples appear in many paintings of the period Poems include Le Telegraphe by Victor Hugo and the collection Telegrafen Optisk kalender for 1858 by Elias Sehlstedt sv 76 is dedicated to the telegraph In novels the telegraph is a major component in Lucien Leuwen by Stendhal and it features in The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas 10 vii ix Joseph Chudy s 1796 opera Der Telegraph oder die Fernschreibmaschine was written to publicise Chudy s telegraph a binary code with five lamps when it became clear that Chappe s design was being taken up 10 42 43 An illustration declaring that the submarine cable between England and France would bring those countries peace and goodwill Rudyard Kipling wrote a poem in praise of submarine telegraph cables And a new Word runs between whispering Let us be one 77 Kipling s poem represented a widespread idea in the late nineteenth century that international telegraphy and new technology in general 78 would bring peace and mutual understanding to the world 79 When a submarine telegraph cable first connected America and Britain the Post declared It is the harbinger of an age when international difficulties will not have time to ripen into bloody results and when in spite of the fatuity and perveseness of rulers war will be impossible 80 Newspaper names Edit Numerous newspapers and news outlets in various countries such as The Daily Telegraph in Britain The Telegraph in India De Telegraaf in the Netherlands and the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in the US were given names which include the word telegraph due to their having received news by means of electric telegraphy Some of these names are retained even though different means of news acquisition are now used See also EditCasa del Telegrafista a Colombian museum dedicated to the telegrapher at a train station Familygram First transcontinental telegraph Globotype Radiogram TelecommunicationsReferences Edit History and technology of Morse Code Groundbreaking Scientific Experiments Inventions amp Discoveries of the 18th Century Jonathan Shectman p172 Samuel F B Morse Examination of the Telegraphic Apparatus and the Processes in Telegraphy pages 7 8 Philp amp Solomons 1869 OCLC 769828711 Cablegram Definition of cablegram by Merriam Webster merriam webster com 1 796 memos from US embassy in Manila in WikiLeaks Cablegate ABS CBN Corporation 29 November 2010 Retrieved 29 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Alexander Stepanovich Popov amongst others also Brian Regal Radio The Life Story of a Technology page 22 John W Klooster 2009 Icons of Invention The Makers of the Modern World from Gutenberg to Gates ABC CLIO p 161 ISBN 978 0 313 34743 6 Sungook Hong Wireless From Marconi s Black box to the Audion MIT Press 2001 page 21 Marconi Radio Pioneer BBC South East Wales Retrieved 12 April 2008 Letters to the Editor Marconi and the History of Radio IEEE Antennas and Propagation Magazine 46 2 130 2004 doi 10 1109 MAP 2004 1305565 Victor L Granatstein 2012 Physical Principles of Wireless Communications Second Edition CRC Press p 8 ISBN 978 1 4398 7897 2 The Clifden Station of the Marconi Wireless Telegraph System Scientific American 23 November 1907 Second Test of the Marconi Over Ocean Wireless System Proved Entirely Successful Sydney Daily Post 24 October 1907 a b c d e f g h i j k l Ronnie J Phillips Digital technology and institutional change from the gilded age to modern times The impact of the telegraph and the internet Journal of Economic Issues vol 34 iss 2 pp 267 289 June 2000 James Gleick 2011 The information a history a theory a flood Books on Tape ISBN 978 0 307 91498 9 OCLC 689998325 retrieved 12 April 2021 Tom Standage The Victorian Internet Afterword Walker amp Company 2007 ISBN 978 0 802 71879 2 TELEGRAM NOT DEAD STOP Ars Technica 19 June 2013 Retrieved 14 May 2019 Hochfelder David 2012 The Telegraph in America 1832 1920 The Johns Hopkins University Press p 79 ISBN 9781421407470 a b c Frehner Carmen 2008 Email SMS MMS The Linguistic Creativity of Asynchronous Discourse in the New Media Age Bern Peter Lang AG pp 187 191 ISBN 9783039114511 Phillip R Easterlin Telex in New York Western Union Technical Review April 1959 45 a b The End Of The Telegraph Era Encyclopedia Britannica Downey Gregory J 2002 Telegraph Messenger Boys Labor Technology and Geography 1850 1950 Routledge New York and London p 7 a b Economic History Encyclopedia 2010 History of the U S Telegraph Industry Archived copy Archived from the original on 2 May 2006 Retrieved 14 December 2005 a href wiki Template Cite web title Template Cite web cite web a CS1 maint archived copy as title link a b Carey James 1989 Communication as Culture Routledge New York and London p 210 Allan J Kimmel People and Products Consumer Behavior and Product Design pp 53 54 Routledge 2015 ISBN 1317607503 Sehlstedt Elias Telegrafen Optisk Kalender for 1858 Tryckt Hos Joh Beckman 1857 ISBN 9171201823 Jonathan Reed Winkler Nexus Strategic Communications and American Security in World War I p 1 Harvard University Press 2009 ISBN 0674033906 Armand Mattelart Networking the World 1794 2000 p 19 University of Minnesota Press 2000 ISBN 0816632871 John A Britton Cables Crises and the Press The Geopolitics of the New Information System in the Americas 1866 1903 p xi University of New Mexico Press 2013 ISBN 0826353983 David Lindley Degrees Kelvin A Tale of Genius Invention and Tragedy p 138 Joseph Henry Press 2004 ISBN 0309167825 Further reading EditBritton John A Cables Crises and the Press The Geopolitics of the New International Information System in the Americas 1866 1903 University of New Mexico Press 2013 Fari Simone Formative Years of the Telegraph Union Cambridge Scholars Publishing 2015 Fari Simone Victorian Telegraphy Before Nationalization 2014 Gorman Mel Sir William O Shaughnessy Lord Dalhousie and the establishment of the telegraph system in India Technology and Culture 12 4 1971 581 601 online Hochfelder David The Telegraph in America 1832 1920 Johns Hopkins University Press 2012 Huurdeman Anton A The Worldwide History of Telecommunications John Wiley amp Sons 2003 John Richard R Network Nation Inventing American Telecommunications Harvard University Press 2010 520 pages the evolution of American telegraph and telephone networks Kieve Jeffrey L 1973 The Electric Telegraph a Social and Economic History David and Charles ISBN 0 7153 5883 9 Lew B and Cater B The Telegraph Co ordination of Tramp Shipping and Growth in World Trade 1870 1910 European Review of Economic History 10 2006 147 73 Muller Simone M and Heidi JS Tworek The telegraph and the bank on the interdependence of global communications and capitalism 1866 1914 Journal of Global History 10 2 2015 259 283 O Hara Glen New Histories of British Imperial Communication and the Networked World of the 19th and Early 20th Centuries History Compass 2010 8 7pp 609 625 Historiography Richardson Alan J The cost of a telegram Accounting and the evolution of international regulation of the telegraph Accounting History 20 4 2015 405 429 Standage Tom 1998 The Victorian Internet Berkley Trade ISBN 0 425 17169 8 Thompson Robert Luther Wiring a continent The history of the telegraph industry in the United States 1832 1866 Princeton UP 1947 Wenzlhuemer Roland The Development of Telegraphy 1870 1900 A European Perspective on a World History Challenge History Compass 5 5 2007 1720 1742 Wenzlhuemer Roland Connecting the nineteenth century world The telegraph and globalization Cambridge UP 2013 online review Winseck Dwayne R and Robert M Pike Communication amp Empire Media Markets amp Globalization 1860 1930 2007 429pp The Victorian Internet The Remarkable Story of the Telegraph and the Nineteenth Century s On Line Pioneers a book about the telegraphTechnology Edit Armagnay Henri 1908 Phototelegraphy Annual Report of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution 197 207 Retrieved 7 August 2009 Dargan J The Railway Telegraph Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin March 1985 pp 49 71 Gray Thomas 1892 The Inventors Of The Telegraph And Telephone Annual Report of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution 639 659 Retrieved 7 August 2009 Pichler Franz Magneto Electric Dial Telegraphs Contributions of Wheatstone Stoehrer and Siemens The AWA Review vol 26 2013 Ross Nelson E HOW TO WRITE TELEGRAMS PROPERLY The Telegraph Office 1928 Wheen Andrew DOT DASH TO DOT COM How Modern Telecommunications Evolved from the Telegraph to the Internet Springer 2011 ISBN 978 1 4419 6759 6 Wilson Geoffrey The Old Telegraphs Phillimore amp Co Ltd 1976 ISBN 0 900592 79 6 a comprehensive history of the shutter semaphore and other kinds of visual mechanical telegraphs External links EditWikisource has original text related to this article The Magnetic Telegraph 1845 predicts the impact of the telegraph on the consolidation of American identityWikimedia Commons has media related to Telegraphy Telegraph Encyclopaedia Britannica 11th ed 1911 Britannica Encyclopedia Telegraph The Porthcurno Telegraph Museum Archived 27 September 2013 at the Wayback Machine The biggest Telegraph station in the world now a museum Distant Writing The History of the Telegraph Companies in Britain between 1838 and 1868 Western Union Telegraph Company Records 1820 1995 Archives Center National Museum of American History Smithsonian Institution Early telegraphy and fax engineering still operable in a German computer museum Telegram Falls Silent Stop Era Ends Stop The New York Times 6 February 2006 International Facilities of the American Carriers an overview of the U S international cable network in 1950 Elizabeth Bruton Communication Technology in 1914 1918 online International Encyclopedia of the First World War Retrieved from https en wikipedia org w index php title Telegraphy amp oldid 1092252084 Telegram services, wikipedia, wiki, book,

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