Inventions in Communications Inventions in Communications

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a) A few wretched wires

a) A few wretched wires

25.03.2019

 

The construction of lines of relay towers, posited since ancient times for long-distance communication, was undertaken by the brothers Chappe in the 1790s. Spaced 10-20 Km, the towers featured mechanical arms whose positions could be varied to indicate distinct messages, which were relayed from tower to tower. This communication network eventually spanned France and neighboring countries, and was used extensively by Napoleon. Initially baptized as “tachygraph”, the system ended up being termed “telegraph”. In 1838, the American inventor Samuel Morse visited France to propose an alternative telegraph system based on electric wires. The scientist appointed to evaluate his proposal, Jules Guyot, commented:

“What can one expect from a few wretched wires?"

Morse was turned down. A decade later, though, France committed to electric telegraphy and the towers were abandoned.

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