The first long distance messages were smoke signals sent by Chinese soldiers as far back as 1800 BC. The First Nations in North America also used smoke signals to communicate over great distances.
In 1837 Samuel Morse developed an electrical telegraph and a signaling alphabet using dots and dashes. This alphabet would come to be known as Morse Code and would become the standard for telegram communication.
The First Telegram
On May 24, 1844 the Morse sent the first commercial telegraph message. “What hath God wrought?” was tapped out in Morse code at the Supreme Court building in Washington, DC. Received at the B&O's Mount Clare Station in Baltimore, MD. The same message was sent back.
What Motivated Samuel Morse?
I wonder what he would think today to discover the massive changes in our world built off that first electronic transmission. Morse was reportedly motivated to pursue creating the telegraph and code to use on it through the death of his wife.
His wife fell gravely ill in Connecticut while Morse was in Washington, DC. He received a message via horse messenger which was slow moving. He left immediately to race to his wife’s side. He arrived to find she not only died but had been buried.
The Long-Term Result of His Work
As the result of his move to create the technology to speed up the sending of messages of great urgency we now have technology that allows us to be in second by second contact with others during an emergency.
The technology has become so much more than messages. The internet and the technology being built as the result of having it contributes to making our lives better
The Modern Day Shopping List
For the last two years a good friend has done my grocery shopping. With an app I enter my shopping list that goes to him. When he’s shopping if something is out of stock, he snaps a picture of what is available and I decide if I want a substitute.
Sick people can be treated by doctors miles away through tele-medicine.
Researchers around the world were able to collaborate in real time when the pandemic hit to identify and build an understanding of what was being dealt with.
We can walk down a street and participate in an online chat group.
And Then There is Web 3
As Web 3 becomes more deeply established in our lives we’re finding ways to monetize much of what we do for free now. The walk down the street while participating in an online chat, the walker can earn tokens on the blockchain.
It's Not All Sweetness & Light
It’s not all sweetness, light and even income. New technologies can be exploited and used for negative actions, scams, cons etc.
Every advancement in human history has had people figure out how to take advantage and hurt others when it was built to do good. As humans we have to learn to deal with that good and the bad of any advancement.
It shouldn’t stop us from appreciating the efforts of those who went before us.
Thank you Samuel Morse.
NOTE: Header image source
Shadowspub is a writer from Ontario, Canada. She writes on a variety of subjects as she pursues her passion for learning. She also writes on other platforms and enjoys creating books you use like journals, notebooks, coloring books etc.
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