Give an Account of a Disappearing Technology of the Twentieth Century

Topics: Electrical telegraph, Technology, Radio Pages: 5 (1545 words) Published: February 24, 2013
Give an account of a disappearing technology of the twentieth century. Why has its use decreased?

As telephone and other communication technologies have highly developed, telegraph plays a less important role in daily life. Human communication has greatly changed after the advent of the Internet, traditional telegraph has replaced by email and other instant messaging system. It is astonishing that, it has been just a hundred years since the first invention of telegraph in the 18th century, this technology which caused revolution is going to withdraw from history in the foreseeable future.

In Europe, the research of long-distance transmission of message started from 17th century. A letter signed by C.M was published in 1753 which gave a bold idea of transmitting message through current. The author suggested that a set of metal cables can be extended from one location to another and every single cable is corresponding to a letter or number. While transmitting information, cables are connected to an electrostatic machine and current is allowed to pass through them. By electrostatic, paper slips which have number or letter marked on them are drawn to the cables. Therefore, transmitting information across distance is possible. Telegraphy developed in a relatively slow process and the milestones of development are the inventions of basic equipments. In 1828, English physicist William Sturgeon put into practice Ampere's idea of a solenoid. American scientist Joseph Henry built the strongest electromagnet at the time improving on William Sturgeon's in 1830. He also showed that when using a set-up with multiple batteries, there should be only one single long coil which made the telegraph feasible. In 1835, Morse Code was invented by American artist-turned inventor Samuel F. B. Morse. Two years later, he conducted the first successful experiment with an electrical recording telegraph. A distance of 40 miles' experimental telegraph line from Washington to Baltimore was constructed in 1842.

Along with the development of telegraph lines construction, a effective way of long-distance communication have finally been achieved, messages can be transmitted through lines. Morse's commercialization of the telegraph spread the technology quickly. Samuel Morese managed to raised funds to extend their line to Philadelphia and New York. At the same time, small telegraph companies were set up in the East, South, and Midwest. Western Union began its business in 1851 while Dispatching trains by telegraph started in the same year.[1] The first telegraph line linked California to the rest of the United States in 1861. Five years later, the United States and Europe were connected by telegraph lines spanned the Atlantic Ocean.[2] By the end of the nineteenth century, most of the world was connected by telegraph lines.

Throughout its history, the telegraph played an irreplaceable role in military use. During the Crimean War in 1854, it was first used by the Allied Army in Bulgaria. As the Civil War of the United States began, a telegraph line across the whole country had been completed and it proved especially useful to both sides. During the Spanish-American War in 1898, undersea telegraph lines were cut as an act of belligerency for the first time, and in World War 1, teleprinters with secret codes were heavily used by all combatants.[3]

When people thought that telegraph have dominated the communication industry, a rival technology, telephone was developed in 1877. Actually at the end of 1876, Western Union president William Orton rejected Alexander Granham Bell's offer to sell his struggling telephone company for $100,000 and said "What use could this company make of an electrical toy?" thereby becoming infamous for making one of the 19th century's worst business blunders. But I believe everyone would make the same mistake if your company had over 7000 service stations, 185 thousand-long telegraph line, 20 million telegraph...
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