Telegraph and Telephone Through the Telecommunication History
An electrical telegraph is a telegraph that uses electrical signals, usually conveyed via telecommunication lines or radio. The first commercial electrical telegraph was constructed by Sir Charles Wheatstone FRS, an English scientist and inventor of many scientific breakthroughs of the Victorian era, including the English concertina, the stereoscope, a device for displaying three-dimensional images, and the Playfair cipher, an encryption technique, and Sir William Fothergill Cooke, with Wheatstone, the co-inventor of the Cooke-Wheatstone electrical telegraph, patented in May 1837. Its use began on April 9, 1939. Both Wheatstone and Cooke viewed the electrical telegraph as “an improvement to the [already-existing, so-called] electromagnetic telegraph” not as a new device.
Samuel FB Morse, an American contributor to the invention of a single-wire telegraph system based on European telegraphs, co-inventor of the Morse code, and an accomplished painter, and Joseph Henry, an American scientist who served as the first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, as well as founding member of the National Institute for the Promotion of Science, a precursor of the Smithsonian Institution, developed their own, simpler version of the electrical telegraph, independently.
Morse successfully demonstrated this system on September 2, 1837. Morse Code, a method of transmitting textual information as a series of on-off tones, lights, or clicks can be directly understood by a skilled listener or observer without special equipment, was Morse’s most important technical contribution to this telegraph as it is simple and highly efficient. It is an important development over Wheatstone’s complicated and significantly more expensive telegraph. It anticipated that of the Huffman code, an entropy encoding algorithm used for loss-less data compression, in digital communications, the physical transfer of data over a point-to-point or point-to-multipoint communication channel, by over 100 years. However, Morse and his associate, Alfred Vail, a machinist and inventor, developed the code purely empirically, unlike Huffman, who gave a detailed theoretical explanation of how this method worked.
The transatlantic telegraph cable was the first cable used for telegraph communications laid across the floor of the Atlantic Ocean. The first permanent transatlantic telegraph cable was successfully completed on July 27, 1866, allowing transatlantic electrical communication for the first time.
An earlier transatlantic cable had operated for a few months in 1859, and among other things, it carried messages of greeting back and forth between President James Buchanan, the 15th President of the United States, and Queen Victoria, the monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from June 20, 1837 until her death. However, that transatlantic cable failed soon, and the project to lay a replacement line was delayed for five years by the American Civil War, often referred to imply as “The Civil War” in the US. Also, these transatlantic cables would have been completely incapable of carrying telephone calls even had the telephone already been invented. The first transatlantic telephone cable was not operational until 1956. It incorporated hundreds of electronic amplifiers, used for increasing the power of signal.