Last week, the 24th marked the anniversary of the telegraph. Along with the development of the Morse Code, Samuel Morse and his assistant were able to send the first telegraph over two miles in 1837. It read, “What hath God wrought.” Sending electrical signals over cables radically changed how people communicate.
Twenty years later, the Pony Express was brought to an end, and the overland telegraph extended from coast to coast in the U.S.
In 1866, the first commercially successful transatlantic telegraph cable connected America with Europe. Australia linked with the rest in 1872, bringing news reports from the entirety of the world. Then, in 1902, telegraphic cable was laid across the Pacific ocean. The telegraph encircled the globe.
Scientists and inventors started to propose the utility of a wireless telegraphy in the 1890s. It wasn’t long till this lead to the invention of the radio. Guglielmo Marconi sent his first radio signal six kilometers in 1896. Then, in 1898 the first successful wireless communication between a naval base and a battleship was made. The radio boomed. It soon became the dominant technology used to send information.
The next big step was the Telex. In 1935, the goal was to make sending and relaying messages as automated as possible. Success was found in the Telex. Germany started the trend, employing the Telex as a means of communication between the different branches of its government. In 1958, Western Union built the Telex network in the United States. The major exchanges were between New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Kansas City, and Atlanta.
1965 saw the first real beginnings of the internet. The Defense Department developed a decentralized switching system. This later grew into a digital network. It wasn’t too long till electrical signals were sent over optic fiber, and the modern public internet was born.
Early in the 1990s, modems became standard in people’s homes and offices. This gave way to emails being the preferred means of communication rather than the Telex. By the time AOL came around, email was a regular fixture. In 1999, the final telegram was sent from the SS Jeremiah O’Brien to the then President Bill Clinton.