Type used for original morse telegraph, unknown maker, United States, 1835
Type used for original Morse telegraph, unknown maker, United States, 1835.
Samuel Morse was one of the pioneers of electric telegraphy. Prompted by receiving news of his wife's death too late to attend her funeral, Morse was determined to improve the speed of long distance communications (which at that point relied on horse messengers). Morse invented an instrument that used a current to displace an electro-magnet, which moved a marker, therefore recording the breaks in the current - the invention of Morse Code. At the same time, Cooke and Wheatstone were working on their own electric telegraph in England. Although Morse claimed to conceive the idea earlier, Cooke and Wheatstone were in 1837 the first in the world to patent an electric telegraph system. Morse maintained that he was the true inventor of the electric telegraph, as only his instruments were able to record messages as well as receive them. He asserted that Cooke and Wheatstone's instruments were merely electrical semaphores. These type pieces are believed to be from Morse's original instrument, and represent the numbers 1, 3 and 8.
- Object Number:
Type '3': 1.5 mm x 18 mm x 28 mm,
Type '8': 1.5 mm x 29 mm x 17 mm,
Type '1': 1.5 mm x 19 mm x 15 mm,
- movable type
- furnishing and equipment
- tools & equipment
- type (composition equipment)
- Donated by H.M. Postmaster General
Cite this page
We encourage the use and reuse of our collection data.
Data in the title, made, maker and details fields are released under Creative Commons Zero
Descriptions and all other text content are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence
Download catalogue entry as json
Download manifest IIIF
Our records are constantly being enhanced and improved, but please note that we cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information shown on this website.