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Samuel Morse, American inventor

Samuel Morse, American inventor

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SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Samuel Finley Breese Morse (1791-1872), US inventor of the electric telegraph and Morse code. Morse studied at Yale, making a living from painting. In 1811 he travelled to London to study painting, and returned to the USA as an artist. It was in 1825, whilst working on a commission, that a horse messanger arrived to tell him of his wife's death. By the time he returned to his home, his wife was already buried. It was this that spurred him to investigate long-distance communication. From 1832 he worked on the development of the electric telegraph, striving to increase its range. He demonstrated his code, with a series of dots and dashes representing each letter, in 1838. After gaining financial support, he transmitted the first telegraph message along the new line linking Washington DC and Baltimore, USA. The first message sent was 'What hath God wrought', in his code, on May 24th 1844.

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