Tag Archives: 19th century

Noises in the Earth

The early telegraph pioneers encountered major problems with cables, so there was a strong incentive for them to minimise the amount of cabling required. Fortunately, the use of an “earth return” meant that one wire (rather than two) was sufficient … Continue reading

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The Victorians were Rocked to their Socks

Methods of communicating over long distances advanced surprisingly little from the days of the Roman Empire to the start of the nineteenth century. Although beacons and semaphores were occasionally used, the speed at which information could be transmitted was typically … Continue reading

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Concerns about Copper

The high price of copper on world markets has led to a spate of cable thefts, and this has provided telephone companies with a strong incentive to find cost-effective ways of replacing copper telephone wire with optical fibre. However, this is … Continue reading

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The First Mobile Phone?

In 1879, Professor David Hughes noticed that a clicking noise occurred in his home-made telephone whenever he used his induction balance. Hughes eventually found that the induction balance had a loose contact, and that the clicking went away when the contact … Continue reading

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If At First You Don’t Succeed . . .

The successful laying of a trans-Atlantic cable was one of the most extraordinary feats of engineering in the history of telecoms. The hero of our story is Cyrus Field, an American businessman who had made his fortune in the New … Continue reading

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The First Wireless Telephone

On 3rd June 1880, Alexander Graham Bell transmitted the first wireless telephone message using his newly-invented “Photophone”. The Photophone contained a flexible mirror that vibrated in response to the speaker’s voice. When sunlight was projected on to the mirror, the … Continue reading

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Synopsis

Here’s a brief summary of each chapter. Chapter 1:  The Birth of an Industry This chapter chronicles the early years of the electric telegraph. It starts with the chaotic scenes in the US congress when – after many setbacks – Samuel … Continue reading

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Welcome!

Hello. Welcome to my website. I’m Andrew Wheen, and I’ve recently published a book on the history of telecoms. If you use a mobile phone or surf the Internet, then this book should be of interest to you. If telecoms … Continue reading

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