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Semaphore station. Historical artwork of a semaphore, or aerial telegraph, station (upper right). Semaphore was developed by the Frenchman Claude Chappe (1763-1805) and his brothers. The three moveable pieces on top of the station can form 196 different arrangements, representing letters, numbers and other special meanings. 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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