Donald Murray (inventor)
Donald Murray (b. 1865 Invercargill, New Zealand; d. 1945) was an electrical engineer and the inventor of the telegraphic typewriter using an extended Baudot code that became the teletype/teleprinter. He can justifiably be called the "Father of the remote Typewriter".
Murray's system became the International Telegraph Alphabet No. 2 (ITA2) or Murray Code, that was in use until supplanted by the American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII) that was introduced in 1963.
Early life and education
Murray went to Europe in 1886, returning in 1887 and working at The New Zealand Herald newspaper, while also studying at the Auckland University College from which he graduated in 1890 with a Bachelor of Arts.
It was during his time with the Sydney Morning Herald that Murray got the idea for the telegraphic typewriter. At the time, telegrams were transmitted by telegraphists using Morse code, then typed onto a telegram form which was then delivered by pushbike rider or runners. Murray's idea was to combine a typewriter with a carboncopy machine to allow the transmission of messages, and by persons who did not have to be familiar with Morse code but rather the more familiar typewriter machines. Machinists were being trained in great numbers at the time, using the QWERTY keyboard layout.
Murray went to New York in 1899 with the idea for his invention, and sought backing while submitting a patent. The patent describes the tele-typewriter system. It received backing from the Postal Telegraph Cable Company, and was then manufactured. This formalised and heavily promoted the use of the QWERTY keyboard, to the detriment of other keyboard layouts such as the Blick keyboard and Dvorak keyboard.
Murray was the author of three books:
- The Philosophy of Power: First Principles, London: Williams & Norgate (1939).
- The Philosophy of Power, Volume 2: The Theory of Control, London: Williams & Norgate (1940).
- Australia: Poverty or Progress?, Melbourne: Henry George Foundation (1945).
- New Zealand’s Donald Murray: The Father of the Remote Typewriter, Australian Typewriter Museum, Canberra, 9 March 2012; accessed 10 March 2012
- Radio Teletype or RTTY: Baudot, Murray and ASCII Codes, Wireless Institute of Australia article
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Donald Murray (inventor).|
- New Zealand’s Donald Murray: The Father of the Remote Typewriter, Australian Typewriter Museum, Canberra
- Codes that Don't Count: Some Printing Telegraph Codes as Products of their Technologies (With Particular Attention to the Teletypesetter) - includes images of early Murray equipment, and visual comparison of Baudot code and Murray code
- Teleprinter and Teletype
- Radioteletype or RTTY - Wireless Institute of Australia
- Telegraph Timeline - North American Data Communications Museum (NADCOMM)