Semaphore station

Semaphore station

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Credit: SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Semaphore station. Historical artwork of a section through a semaphore, or aerial telegraph, station. Semaphore was developed by the Frenchman Claude Chappe (1763-1805) and his brothers. The three moveable pieces (upper centre) can form 196 different arrangements, representing letters, numbers and other special meanings. Each signal is sent by replicating its arrangement in the control room at lower centre. In 1793, Chappe set up 22 stations covering the 240 kilometres between Paris and Lille, allowing messages to be sent at speed. Semaphore became obsolete in the 1850s as electric telegraphy prospered.

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Keywords: aerial, aerial telegraph, art, artwork, chappe, communication, communications, historical, history of science, semaphore, semaphore station, semaphore system, signalling, station, technology, telegraph

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