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To transmit messages across telegraph wires, in the 1830s Morse and Vail created what came to be known as Morse code.
The code assigned letters in the alphabet and numbers a set of dots (short marks) and dashes (long marks) based on the frequency of use; letters used often (such as “E”) got a simple code, while those used infrequently (such as “Q”) got a longer and more complex code.
In addition to helping invent the telegraph, Samuel Morse developed a code (bearing his name) that assigned a set of dots and dashes to each letter of the English alphabet and allowed for the simple transmission of complex messages across telegraph lines.
In 1844, Morse sent his first telegraph message, from Washington, D. Although the telegraph had fallen out of widespread use by the start of the 21st century, replaced by the telephone, fax machine and Internet, it laid the groundwork for the communications revolution that led to those later innovations.
Developed in the 1830s and 1840s by Samuel Morse (1791-1872) and other inventors, the telegraph revolutionized long-distance communication.
It worked by transmitting electrical signals over a wire laid between stations.
Second, in 1820, the Danish physicist Hans Christian Oersted (1777-1851) demonstrated the connection between electricity and magnetism by deflecting a magnetic needle with an electric current.
Use of the telegraph was quickly accepted by people eager for a faster and easier way of sending and receiving information.
Extensive systems appeared across Europe by the later part of the 19th century, and by 1866 the first permanent telegraph cable had been successfully laid across the Atlantic Ocean; there were 40 such telegraph lines across the Atlantic by 1940.
The electric telegraph transformed how wars were fought and won and how journalists and newspapers conducted business.
Their system was soon being used for railroad signaling in Britain.
During this time period, the Massachusetts-born, Yale-educated Morse (who began his career as a painter), worked to develop an electric telegraph of his own.
He reportedly had become intrigued with the idea after hearing a conversation about electromagnetism while sailing from Europe to America in the early 1830s, and later learned more about the topic from American physicist Joseph Henry (1797-1878).