The largest collection of Telecommunication Memorabilia in Queensland.
 
 
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The Electric Telegraph was invented by David Alter in 1836. This device was further developed and patented by Samuel Morse in 1837. Many inventors were actively developing various electro telegraph systems during this period  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electrical_telegraph.  Samuel Morse's electrical telegraph system was capable of transmitting messages over wire.  However it was Joseph Henry who invented powerful electro-magnets for use with Morse's system to enable transmissions to exceed a distance of 40 feet.  Morse's device was first successfully tested on Jan 6th 1838. His first telegram using his device was sent by himself on May 24 1844. The message read "What hath God wrought?"

The first telegraphs came in the form of optical telegraphs including the use of smoke signals and beacons which have existed since ancient times. A semaphore network invented by Claude Chappe operated in France from 1792-1846.   The last (Swedish) commercial semaphore link ceased operation in 1880.
Semaphores were able to convey information more precisely than smoke signals and beacons and consumed no fuel. Messages could be sent at much greater speed than horse riders. However, like beacons and smoke signals, they were dependent on good weather to work. They required operators and towers every 30 km (20 mi), and could only accommodate about two words per minute. This was useful to governments, but too expensive for most commercial uses other than commodity price information. Electric Telegraphs were to  reduce the cost of sending a message thirty fold as compared to semaphore.

Brisbane to Sydney 6/- (60c) for 1st 10 words + 4d (3c) per extra word
Brisbane to Melbourne 9/- (90c) for 1st 10 words + 6d (5c) per extra word
Brisbane to Sth Australia 12/- ($1:20) for 1st ten words + 8d (7c) per extra word.                  
                 STATISTICS FOR YEAR ENDING 1891
                 Messages handled……....... 1,189,355
                 Revenue…………….……....… £93,222
                 Electric Telegraph Offices...........… 352
                 Miles of Telegraph Lines…........  9,973
                 Miles of Wire…………….......…. 17,622
What does the signal say?    Answer at the bottom of the page.
Morse Code signal says "welcome"
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