“What Hath God Wrought?”
That was the telegraph message that American inventor Samuel F. B. Morse dispatched from the U.S. Capitol to Alfred Vail, who was at the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&O) station in Baltimore, Maryland. Members of Congress witness the demonstration, which took place on May 24, 1844—inaugurating the world’s first commercial telegraph line.
Ten years later, over 20,000 miles of telegraph cable crossed the country, contributing to American expansion into the west by making railroad travel safer and boosting transcontinental business.
Morse (April 27, 1791 – April 2, 1872) was originally a painter who, in his later life, worked on inventing the single-wire telegraph system based on European telegraphs and electromagnetism.
The message, a Bible verse (Numbers 23:23) chosen by Annie Ellsworth, daughter of Connecticut’s governor and commissioner of patents, speaks (perhaps somewhat ominously) to how invention and technology would come to affect American life.
Filed Under: M2M (machine to machine)