Samuel Morse: Inventor of the Telegraph (Annotated) by Frances Melville Perry

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Frances Melville Perry
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Samuel Morse: Inventor of the Telegraph (Annotated)

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Book review

Originally published in 1901 as a portion of the author’s larger “Four American Inventors,” and equivalent in length to a physical book of approximately 48 pages, this Kindle edition describes the life and work of the man who invented the telegraph—a system for transmitting messages from a distance along a wire.


I. The Parsonage
II. Early Influences
III. College Life
IV. Life in London
V. Painting
VI. Abroad Again
VII. An Important Voyage
VIII. Years of Struggle
IX. Encouragement
X. Waiting at Last Rewarded
XI. The Telegraph
XII. The Cable
XIII. The Inventor at Home

Includes supplemental material:

•A Brief Summary of the Life of Samuel Morse
•Chart of International Morse Code Letters and Numbers in Dots and Dashes

Sample passage:

“I have heard all about the horseshoe electromagnet,” interrupted one man impatiently. “But I should think it would make a rather clumsy pen. How are you going to use your force to write?”—“I have thought it all out and made drawings of it,” replied Mr. Morse. “At one end of the wire will be the battery and the man who sends the message. At the other end will be the pencil for him to write with and the paper for him to write upon. A long ribbon of paper will be attached to two cylinders turned regularly towards each other by clockwork, so that the paper will be wound off of one cylinder upon the other. Above this strip of paper will be a bar swinging freely on a central pivot like a balance. This bar will be made to go up or down like a teeterboard, at the will of the man sending the message. There will be a sharp pencil under the end of the bar over the paper. When that end of the bar goes down and right up again the pencil will leave a dot on the paper. If it stays down while the turning cylinders carry the paper along under it, it will make a line. If it stays up while the paper is turned under it, a space will be left. By combining these dots, dashes, and spaces in various ways a telegraphic alphabet can be made.”

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