By Camilla F. Chandelier
Published May 27th, 1844
“What hath God wrought?”—the sentence, unsealing the United States of America to the new better world, was sent from Washington, DC to Baltimore on this past Friday, May 24th, 1844, by Samuel F. B. Morse1 and his “TELEGRAPH.” Rather than walking to them, knocking the doors, and having face-to-face conversation, or spending several hours to send and to receive letters, Telegraph “opens a new dimension for American communication” by sending different dash-and-dot signals, which represent each alphabet and number, through a wire using knowledge of electricity and magnetism.2 America accordingly is going to likely have a new revolution on market system and communication system.
Born in 1791, Samuel F. B. Morse was the first child of a clergyman, Jedidiah Morse, and Elisabeth Finley Morse. Even though Morse was not an outstanding student at both Phillips Academy and Yale College, he found his interest in electricity and art. His first interest belonging to art carried him to be a drama artist. After his grief coming from his parents and his wife’s death, at age 38 he moved to Europe to recover. This trip, however, burst out his rust covering his interest in electricity when he met Charles Thomas Jackson, the inventor who sparked Morse’s interest to craft his model using for sending electronic impulse via a wire.3
After his attempt and hard-working to study Joseph Henry’s work of transformation from electromagnetic energy into mechanical work, Morse accomplished to develop his prototype of his telegraph. In 1838, Alfred Vail, Morse’s fellow inventor, helped Morse create signals using the system of dashes and dots. Later, the marvel came into his life after struggling to find a source to build his actual work when Maine Congressman Francis Ormand Jonathan Smith gave him an attention in 1842. In the December, Morse succeeded to send messages back and forth through a wire between two committee rooms, which made him win 30,000 dollars Congressional appropriation to experiment sending a 38-mile-long message from Washington, DC to Baltimore. Miraculously, on May 24th, 1844, he accomplished this experiment to send “What hath God wrought?” which is the most fascinating success for American communication system in this past decades.4
Morse’s telegraph uses a plate consisted of long and short metal bars using to send the dash-and-dot signals. When the operator slides a pointer connected to a battery and the sending wire across the bars, the signals of dashes and dots is immediately sent over the line. The receiver uses an electromagnet with a stylus, a pen-like instrument, on the end of an arm. The signals then are recorded as a long imprint or a point corresponding to the dash-and-dot on a paper tape.5 Then the sentence “What hath God wrought?” hidden in the message can be translated by the operator.
Now the name “Samuel Morse” is spreading throughout not only America but also any other countries in this world to congratulate his accomplishment. It’s incomparably interesting that we are very close to the world that chatting no longer requires an actual transportation but, instead, uses this dash-and-dot code through a single wire and Morse’s invention from place to place. No one can still know how his telegraph is going to alter the world communication system, especially in America. American market system may become more luxurious due to the better communication to buy, sell, and trade the products and goods. Or even more commonly in the family system when telegraph spreads throughout this nation, we won’t be able to imagine how different it will be compared with what it is right now. Anyway, from what we all have known so far, Samuel Morse will be recorded as one of the world-famous inventors in this century.
- History.com Staff. “Morse Code & the Telegraph.” History.com. 2009. Accessed April 18, 2017. http://www.history.com/topics/inventions/telegraph.
- “Invention of the Telegraph – Samuel F. B. Morse Papers at the Library of Congress, 1793-1919.” The Library of Congress. Accessed April 23, 2017. https://www.loc.gov/collections/samuel-morse-papers/articles-and-essays/invention-of-the-telegraph/.
- Timmons, Greg. “Samuel F. B. Morse.” Biography.com. January 06, 2016. Accessed April 23, 2017. http://www.biography.com/people/samuel-morse.
- “Invention of the Telegraph – Samuel F. B. Morse Papers at the Library of Congress, 1793-1919.”