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First Electric Telegraph

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Credit for this entry to:
Alan Patient of

First Electric Telegraph

Event  From 1816 

Categories: Science

Telegraphic messages were first sent successfully by Sir Francis Ronalds using an eight mile long grid in his back garden in Hammersmith. He tried to interest the Admiralty in his invention, but they failed to see its potential. Charles Wheatstone visited Ronalds' house as a boy,and was later inspired to develop the technology.

The GPO was given a monopoly of inland telegraphs in 1869-70.

In his 1875 ‘The Way We Live Now’ Anthony Trollope uses a telegraph to move his plot forward but is clearly not a fan:  “It may well be doubted whether upon the whole the telegraph has not added more to the annoyances than to the comforts of life, and whether the gentlemen who spent all the public money without authority ought not to have been punished with special severity in that they had injured humanity, rather than pardoned because of the good they had produced.  Who is benefited by telegrams?  The newspapers are robbed of all their old interest, and the very soul of intrigue is destroyed.” (p.470 in vol.1, Penguin 2001).  Of course Trollope’s work with the GPO was in the days before this new invention.

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First Electric Telegraph

Information Commemorated at

Sir Francis Ronalds - W6

The first electric telegraph 8 miles long was constructed here in 1816 by Sir...

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