Tuesday, January 6

What Hath Samuel Morse Wrought?

On this day in 1838 at a small ironworks shop in New Jersey, not unlike Uncle George's shop in Spotswood, Samuel Morse successfully demonstrated his telegraph.
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Morse wasn't an electrician, he was a painter, an artist. He studied at the Royal Academy in London and painted portraits of several famous people, including President James Monroe. In 1832, Samuel Morse overheard electricians describing how electricity passes instantly over wire.
Morse wondered if messages could be sent with the electricity?
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His ideas started out as drawings, sketches of a machine. He used a homemade battery and old clock parts to build his models. He developed his famous dots and dashes code and soon got financing from Alfred Vail, a machinist from Jersey.

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The first successful message sent was from Vail to Morse & said "A patient waiter is no loser." It was sent over 2 miles of wire, right there in New Jersey.
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It was 6 years later when his famous message "What hath God wrought!" was sent over 35 miles, linking Baltimore with Washington D.C.
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So today, 171 years later, I would love to see Mr. Morse's face if I was to hand him a text message or get him a twitter account. If he could jump on twitter, knowing that his words would instantly be displayed over the entire world, what would he say? Would it be "Testing...1.. 2.. 3?"

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Today, as I marvel on technology and am humbled by how much we take for granted, I shake my head and say, "What hath Samuel Morse wrought!"

5 comments:

Driftwood said...

Love that last picture. It looks like your mother is sitting at Starbucks wondering how to use that thing she has in her hands.

Ruth said...

What's with everybody using their left hand and left ear with their phone? Is this a new trend, or did you flip the pictures for continuity?

Ruth said...

What's with everybody using their left hand and left ear with their phone? Is this a new trend, or did you flip the pictures for continuity?

Anonymous said...

There are days when I wish old Sam had never "wrought" it!! Have you ever wanted to take that phone, cell or regular, and break it into little teeeeeeeeeeeeny tiiiiiiny pieces and grind them with your heel and throw them as far as you could throw them yelling "shut up shut up" the whole time? Yessiree now I feel better and plan to have a good day. I won't even be annonymous this time this is your MOTHER!!!!!! However I love it when you call me Poof!

Tom S said...

Two things:
1 - It's interesting he was an artist, reminds of the whole left brain / right brain thing you wrote about at nothingbetterthanablankpage.blogspot.com/2008/11/right-brain-is-new-left-brain.html

2 - Here's a great video of what it would be like to put your phone in a blender: www.willitblend.com