Tag Archives: telegraph

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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Did the Radio Telegraph lead to a Miscarriage of Justice?

In an earlier blog, we learned how Cooke and Wheatstone’s telegraph played a central role in the capture of the murderer John Tawell as he travelled by train from Slough to London. In an analogous case, the murderer Dr Hawley … 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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A New Year Murder

In 1839, William Fothergill Cooke and Charles Wheatstone opened the world’s first public telegraph service on a 13-mile stretch of rail track between London Paddington and West Drayton. The telegraph received some sensational publicity a few years later when it … Continue reading

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Portrait Gallery

As soon as a decision is made to include pictures in a book, difficult choices have to be made about which pictures to include and which to leave out. In some cases, the decision was taken out of my hands. … 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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Interview

    What are your favourite sports and hobbies? My work involves spending far too much time sitting in meetings or working on a computer, so I like leisure pursuits that involve fresh air and exercise. I’m keen on backpacking … Continue reading

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Biography

I can’t really believe that many people will be interested in this, but I’m told that an author’s website needs a biography – so here goes. I can’t tell you about all the books I’ve written, because I’ve only written … Continue reading

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