1837: First Commercial Telegraph
Innovation: first commercial telegraph
Location: United States
By: Samuel Morse
Sir William Cooke and Charles Wheatstone developed the first commercial electrical telegraph in 1837. It was used to relay messages over 13 miles in London, but had flaws such as not being able to support punctuation, capitalization, and a few letters in the alphabet. In the United States by 1837, with the use of electromagnets, a more efficient, cheaper, and further running telegraph was developed and patented by Samuel Morse and Alfred Vail. Over five years after the development of their electromechanical telegraph and Morse Code alphabetical system, Morse and Vail completed a telegraph line for the government that ran from Washington D.C. to Baltimore. By 1844, the line was complete and sending high speed messages from city to city. Two years later, The Magnetic Telegraph Company, formed by Morse, completed the first commercial telegraph line in America that ran from New York City to Washington D.C, launching a much quicker form of communication for the population. With the ability to communicate and relay ideas from city to city at such high speeds, the telegraph played an important role in the communication and technology eruption of the 19th century.