When was Morse code developed?

Morse code is a messaging system which uses two kinds of signal, a short one called a dot, and a long one called a dash. The signals are sent via telegraphs. A transmitter sends a coded message in long and short bursts of radio waves along a wire; the receiver then translates the dots and dashes into their representative letters, numbers and words.

Samuel Morse (1791-1872) was an American engineer who developed this system. He conceived communication via telegraph in 1832. After several years of work on the idea, Morse perfected it in 1838.

However, at that time, telegraph lines did not exist across land, so there was no way Morse could put his code to use on a practical scale.

It was 1843 before the US government allocated a sum of money to construct a telegraph line between Washington and Baltimore. Morse sent the first Morse code message along the lines in 1844.

Fact File

Morse code was used a lot during World War I because it was a quick and easy way of sending messages. Probably the most famous signal was SOS which actually stood for ‘Save our Souls’.


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