Samuel Finley Breese Morse (27 April 1791 – 2 April 1872) was an American contributor to the invention of a single-wire telegraph system based on European telegraphs, co-inventor of the Morse code, and a painter of historic scenes.
Morse was born in Charlestown, Massachusetts (now part of Boston), on April 27, 1791, and educated at Yale College (now Yale University). He studied painting in London and became a successful portrait painter and sculptor. In 1825 he helped found the National Academy of Design in New York City, and the following year he became the first president of the institution. He continued his painting and became a professor of painting and sculpture at New York University in 1832. About that time he became interested in chemical and electrical experiments and developed apparatus for an electromagnetic telegraph that he completed in 1836. The following year he filed a caveat, or legal notice, at the patent office in Washington, D.C., and tried without success to obtain European patents for his apparatus. He also invented a code, now known as the Morse code, for use with his telegraph instrument. Several contemporary scientists gave Morse significant financial and technical help with his work on the telegraph and Morse code.