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Morse Code

Page history last edited by Kate M. Fisher 12 years, 9 months ago

Self Portrait by Samuel Morse

Samuel Finley Breese Morse


Summary

      Morse Code is the language of the telegraph, consisting of long and short electronic pulses that are put together in a specific order to create words [1]. Since the code contains gaps between the dots and dashes, this code is not considered to be a binary code.  A transmission takes place when an operator manually transmits information to another operator over a telephone line by employing the use of morse code. Only operators who knew morse code could send and recieve messages. 


 Telegraph

     The word telegraph originally referred to any device that facilitated long-distance communication [5]. Samuel F.B. Morse worked with partners Alfred Vail and Leonard Gale to design his electro-mechanical device, which Morse described as the "Recording Telegraph"[5]. With the help of his collegues, the telegraph was born in 1836 [5]. The telegraph was made of an electrical circuit consisting of a battery, key, and an electromagnet, all connected to a wire.

[8]


 History

      Invented by Samuel Finley Breese Morse in the 1840's, by the 1850's morse code was the standard method of electical communication in both the United States and Europe[3]. The first transmission ever sent was from Washington to Baltimore saying, "What hath God wrought?"[2] Morse's daughter, Annie Ellsworth, and her friend suggested this message, as it had symbolic meaning coming from the Bible (Numbers 23:23). [2].

 

     During his work on the telegraph, Morse needed technical/financial help and support from Congress.  He spilt ownership of his invention of the telegraph, with Congress. He, himself, had ownership over 16 shares of the telegraph's profits. Congressman Francis Ormond Jonathan 'Fog' Smith owned four shares,  Technician Afred Vail owned two shares, and Professor of Science Leonard D. Gale owned one share, while Morse owned the remaining nine shares. [2]. The alliance he forged with these men led to great success for Morse in the future.

 

     Morse code had a dramatic affect on everyone during this time period.  It enabled the general public to send telegrams to one another within seconds, instead of writing a letter which could take days or weeks to arrive. This system eventually took the place of the Pony Express, which went out of business shortly after the United States adopted the telegraph [3]. The railroads benefitted dramatically from the invention of the telegraph, as it allowed for the trains to move more efficiently and improved the safety for all those working on the railroad. In America, during the Civil War, Morse Code served as one of the first demonstrations of the military value of the telegraph, in control over the troops.

 


 Usage

      Operators today can communicate by morse code at a rate of around 20-30 words per minute.  A veteran of the United States Air Force who was in the Koren War, Alan Messer, served as a morse code operator during his years of service. He started training at Scotts Air Force Base in Illinois. In order to pass a class that taught morse code, operators had to be well-adversed with the system and be able to generate at least 20 words a minute. Messer and only two other gentlemen in his class were able to attain this goal. Messer and the other men actually surpassed this amount, generating and receiving over 40 words per minute. They were so well-adversed with this technology, that no other gentlemen during this time, could keep up with their speed in sending and receving messages.

 

      Morse's orginal code is not quite the same as the one we employ today.  The "American" morse code was in wide use throughout the United States, until the 1920's.  After an international conference was conducted in Berlin in 1851, the "American" form of morse code was modified to better serve all individuals over-seas. This change regularized morse code on a more rational basis, eliminated the concept of applying spaces between letters; and most importantly,  provided codes for all accented letters, thus making it simpler to communicate with individuals from other countries.  [7].


Morse Code Alphabet of Letters

Morse Codes

American

International

A . _ . _
B _ . . . _ . . .
C . .    . _ . _ .
D _ . . _ . .
E . .
F . _ . . . _ .
G _ _ . _ _ .
H . . . . . . . .
I . . . .
J _ . _ . . _ _ _
K _ . _ _ . _
L _____ . _ . .
M _ _ _ _
N _ . _ .
O .   . _ _ _
P . . . . . . _ _ .
Q . . _ . _ _ . _
R .    . . . _ .
S . . . . . .
T _ _
U . . _ . . _
V . . . _ . . . _
W . _ _ . _ _
X . _ . . _ . . _
Y . .   . . _ . _ _
Z . . . . _ _ . .
1 . _ _ . . _ _ _ _
2 . . _ . . . . _ _ _
3 . . . _ . . . . _ _
4 . . . . _ . . . . _
5 _ _ _ . . . . .
6 . . . . . . _ . . . .
7 _ _ . . _ _ . . .
8 _ . . . . _ _ _ . .
9 _ . . _ _ _ _ _ .
0 ______ _ _ _ _ _

[7] 


 Usage Today

   Today we are more dependent on satellites and microwave radio links for high-speed data transmissions [6]. By the year 1999, the United States Coast Guard had stopped monitoring the Morse maritime distress frequency, and the International Maritime Organization had dropped the requirement that ships over three hundred tons have telegraph capabilities aboard[6]. The United States did not completly end the telegraph era. Morse code is still extremely reliable and many  Third World countries, cargo ships, and others who cannot afford satellites, do not wish to depend solely on the satellite equipment, so still use morse code for some purposes[6].  In case of emergencies, the United States space shuttles have a tiny telegraph key on the digital control panel of their high-frequency radio[6].


This is a video I found on Youtube and it is an example of morse code going through the Alphabet.

  

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