Telegraph

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  • The first technology to enable communication of information without physical movement (called the “Victorian Internet” of the telegraph). Optical telegraphs were in use from the end of the 18th century, consisting of people using lights, flags, or other devices to send semaphore signals from one tower or “beacon hill” to another a few miles away. The electrical telegraph was developed and became operational by the mid-19th century and was first used alongside railways to control switching and signaling.

    An experimental line connected Baltimore and Washington in 1846, using technology developed by Samuel Morse. By 1850, there was 12,000 miles of telegraph in the United States. The first line to cross the continent was complete in 1861, making the Pony Express redundant. Messages that had taken ...

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