Chappe's semaphore station. Historical artwork of one of the semaphore telegraph stations set up by Claude Chappe (1763-1805) in 1794. Each station bore a set of wooden arms (upper left). These could form 196 different arrangements, each representing a letter, number or other meaning. Messages were passed from one station to another by operators in the stations, who duplicated the signals they observed from the station before them in the line. Fifteen of these stations covered the 240 kilometres between Paris and Lille, France. The invention of electric telegraphy by Morse in 1844 rendered this system obsolete.
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