Advantages of Using the Telegraph

Communication over distances for our ancestors was not easy. Even sending a letter was not the easiest or quickest method. With the development of the electronic version of the telegraph and the code system created by Samuel Morse in 1838, a whole new world opened up for communication. It was a series of dots and dashes (the Morse Code) that could spell out what was wanted. The first telegram in the U.S. was sent by Morse in January 1838 a distance of 2 miles. By 1844 a message was sent 44 miles.

The telegraph originally was popular in Britain but eventually, it gained popularity in the United States. Then it spread with telegraph wires eventually all across the United States – very fast communication. By the 1850s and 60s, communication with the telegraph could be done with certain continents with telegraph cables beneath the sea between continents. Sending a letter from England to New York still took 10-12 days in 1852. Believe it or not, there were some people who questioned then ‘did we really need to know information that quickly?’ Your grandparents and great-grandparents truly did know how important the use of the telegraph was in their life over the coming years.

Telegraphs would continue to be used and improve communication well into the 1940s. However with telephones greatly expanded by the 1950s into the 1970s, very little was done using a telegram.

Photo: The Morse Telegraph Key

Related Blogs:

Telephone Directories

Families Using Telegrams

Civil War Telegraph Messages

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