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Need photos[edit]

Anyone have, or can get, usable photos or diagrams of the early telegraph units (especially the five-needle and four-needle ones). This one is CC but noncommercial, so it's excluded :-( -- (talk) 22:12, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

Telegraphy as a legacy system[edit]

can anyone perform a spell check for me on the last sentences? I'm Dutch speaking. For those who understand Dutch, please read following article out of De Standaard newspaper:

also wasn't it samuel morse not samuel thomas —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:58, 19 January 2010 (UTC)

We versturen jaarlijks nog 120.000 telegrammen

BRUSSEL - Elk jaar worden er in ons land nog 120.000 telegrammen verstuurd. België is daarmee een uitzondering. In ons land is het bijvoorbeeld nog wettelijk verplicht om telegrammen te sturen naar mensen die dijken bewaken als er storm dreigt. In Groot-Brittannië, Duitsland, Frankrijk en Nederland is het telegram al afgevoerd, omdat het helemaal verdrongen werd door telefoon, e-mail en sms.

In de jaren '60 werden jaarlijks enkele miljoenen telegrammen verstuurd in ons land. Die gouden periode is voorbij, maar toch houdt het telegram opmerkelijk goed stand. Er worden nog 120.000 stuks per jaar verstuurd, of zo'n 300 per dag.

Er worden ook nog veel telegrammen naar en uit het buitenland verwerkt. En rond 15 augustus arriveren er duizenden telegrammen uit Italië, waar moederdag uitvoerig gevierd wordt.

In de meeste buurlanden is het telegram al afgeschaft. Omdat het bij ons nog succes heeft, denkt Belgacom daar niet aan. -- fredo1983


Ampere, in a a presentation to the Academy of Sciences on October 2, 1820 which can be found in the Annales de Chimie et de Physique Series II Vol. 15, p.59, 1820, Ampere says that he is following up on an experiment suggested by Marquis de Laplace which is forming the first electromagnetic telegraph. It appears he does not actually make it but it is conceived there. Emstone 15:30 825 January 2006 (UTC)

Fax machine photo options[edit]

In the article, it says: "Before fax machines came into general use, wire picture or wire photo was a newspaper picture that was sent from a remote location by a facsimile telegraph. This is why many fax machines have a photo option even today.". I don't get this justification. Why is fax machines having a photo option relevant to telegraphs? -- Stain 14:49 22 Nov 2005 (UTC)

Point-and-click and email[edit]

The article says modems and point-and-click interfaces led to personal email in 1992. I'm pretty sure the first email (even personal) systems existed long before point-and-click interfaces, and probably also before 1992. But I'm no computer science historian, so could someone knowledgeable correct that statement? -- Kimiko 21:02 21 May 2003 (UTC)

E-mail was first invented for Multics in the late 1960s. However it was limited to a single computer until the internet connected them around 1968. Various private networks (UUNET, the Well, GENIE, DECNET) had e-mail from the 1970s, but subscriptions were quite expensive for an individual- $25 to $50 a month, just for e-mail. Internet use was then pretty much limited to government, academia and other government contractors until the net was opened to commercial use around 1989[?]. Individual e-mail accounts were not widely available until local ISPs were in place, funded by people's desire for web access. This was about 1992. User:Ray Van De Walker

Before the internet came in, computer bulletin boards were popular. This was in the late 1980s. These would have a bank of modems that people could dial into from their home computers. You could send messages using a network called Fidonet, where the bulletin boards could call each other overnight and forward on messages. GB 00:50, 25 January 2007 (UTC)

IPARS error[edit]

I removed the following statement, because it is factually incorrect: "PARS and IPARS (the airline reservation systems) still (2002) use Baudot code, because it requires only 7.5 bits per character. A bit saved is a penny earned." In fact, IPARS uses a 6-bit shifted code, not 5-bit Baudot. -- Ortonmc 03:58, 11 Nov 2003 (UTC)

GFDL for image[edit]

Can someone please find a (GNU FDL'd) image for this article. Noldoaran 17:56, Dec 5, 2003 (UTC)

First fax machine[edit]

The following was removed from the article as "inaccurate" by an anon user, so I'm leaving it here for those who know more than me:

  • The first fax machine was introduced in 1912, known as the Telex-Faxomatic, and primarily used for the transmission of lunch orders from busy factory floors to any number of delies and cafeterias.

BCorr ¤ Брайен 00:12, 26 Feb 2004 (UTC)

The transfer of letters and numbers without human interface/interpretation is not a facsimile. The transfer of such lettered and numerical data, is however a dramatic breakthrough.Homebuilding (talk) 20:06, 12 December 2012 (UTC)

Removed irrelevant Internet info[edit]

Removed from the article, as this does not seem immediately relevant to telegraphy, and I'm not sure that the data-efficiency arguments given are relevant in the current WDM bandwidth glut world:

The Internet was designed with nearly grotesque economies. It is commonplace for internet packets to use less than 1% of their bits for overhead. This cheapness combines synergistically with the Internet's ability to live on other media. A typical cycle occurs when the internet encounters another network, like telex, fidonet, ATM, or (as we are seeing with cable-modem based internet phones) the public switched telephone network:

  • First, Internet protocols are tunneled through the other network, as a convenience, usually for some specialized or office application.
  • Second, users come to expect the reliable global interconnectivity of the Internet, often for e-mail, or nowadays, for web access. Just because it's old and well debugged, the Internet can seduce a user with a young, poorly behaved proprietary network.
  • Third, native applications of the competing network are deprecated, often because "nonproprietary" Internet versions of similar services become available.
  • Fourth, an alternative cheaper or higher-speed Internet-compatible medium becomes available, and the organization begins to install it.
  • Fifth, the proprietary network is rationalized out of existence as a cost-cutting maneuver, often because the Internet protocols have such low percentages of overhead (i.e. wasted) data.

Third Reich invention[edit]

"The Third Reich invented the first wide-coverage telex system, and used it to coordinate their bureaucracy. It was a true triumph of German efficiency."

Isn't putting true triumph of efficiency and IIIrd Reich in the same sentence borderline apologetic of the IIIrd Reich ? Isn't "German efficiency" itself borderline racist, as racist as "French anarchy" ?

No, the 'third reich' really was an efficient governing organisation. And of course, it isn't apologetic. How could that sentence possibly be construed as such. As for the racism - maybe. It is probably worth removing it to avoid offending anyones sensibilities.Rob cowie 12:12, 2 February 2006 (UTC)
Even though this seems to have been removed, I would like to say that the line "It was a true triumph of German efficiency." reads more POV than anything else. Since it has long since been removed it is a moot point. 15 February 2007 (anon) —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 15:20, 15 February 2007 (UTC).
This is a fruitless discussion. Everybody knows that T. Alva Edison has invented Telegraphy. Point and out .. -- —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:50, 17 June 2010 (UTC)


why does telex link point to teleprinter if they talk more about it in telegraphy?

The two articles need better coordination. Also I removed the following from the TWX section:
"The "four row" TWX service had "control characters" that let the machine behave like office typewriters. These provided paragraph indentation, form feeds, and other services that were never available with Baudot codes. However, the TWX code only used 93 of 128 characters.
The Teletype Corporation was founded by Edward E. Kleinschmidt. It had the cheapest teletypewriters that could be adapted to the TWX code. Bell purchased the corporation to assure its supply of "model 33" TWX teletypewriters.
model 33 was the cheapest teletypewriter available for use with computers. Computer people, of course, wanted a full set of characters. Teletype provided them.
ASCII was born from TWX code. It was formalized as CCITT international alphabet 5. Careful study will show that ASCII traces many character codes back to Baudot, which in turn traces some characters back to manual telegraphy."
This is very questionable stuff. Bell bought Teletype Corp in 1930, long before the model 33. Frank Pearne founded Teletype [1]. I believe four row TWX used ASCII 128, which was developed by a committee with ATT as a major participant. The model 33 did not have lower case characters, if I recall correctly. --agr 15:11, 23 January 2006 (UTC)

A mention of [Cybersyn] , a system of Telex co-ordinated economic planning, might not be remiss in the Telex section of this entry.

I am more than happy to edit and rewrite the whole telegraphy entry but this will have to wait until the end of the year after my dissertation on the telegraph has been submitted. (Neil Barton)

this article needs to tell more history of the telegraph (just ot let you know)- im not the one to od it either 02:54, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

dablink malfunction[edit]

{{dablink|''Telegraph'' and ''telegram'' redirect here. For other senses of those words, please see [[telegraph (disambiguation)]] and [[telegram (disambiguation)]].}}

Telegraph and telegram redirect here. For other senses of those words, please see telegraph (disambiguation) and telegram (disambiguation).

I have no idea why the above appears in bold. Can anyone (1) tell me, and (2) fix this? Michael Hardy 00:41, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

Silent Railway telegraph?[edit]

The article currently says that the Great Western Railway telegraph "came into operation on 9 April 1839", and that Samuel Morse sent the "world's first telegram" on 24 May 1844. Surely the Railway telegraph wasn't silent for the 5-year interim. I'm guessing that the Railway communication was not considered "telegrams" per se. Could someone acquainted with this history clarify the text for those of us who aren't? Thanks. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 00:03, 18 February 2006 (UTC)

Of course Morse and the Washington-Baltimore telegraph did not send the "world's first telegram", a word not invented until over 10 years later, but Morse was quite possibly the world's greatest publicist. (Neil Barton)

I agree. It seems to be a part of a national propaganda without any technical background inside. For instance, some American history books tell nothing about Sputnik but very well depict US Moon programme. (Thomas Reinshaw)


I agree that Electrical telegraph could easily be moved here - I've already removed the expand tag from that article. Any objection to merging it? --Wtshymanski 15:06, 4 June 2006 (UTC)

automatic telegraph?[edit]

Could some one put in info on Alexander Bain's automatic telegraph.

Done. -Sea diver 10:30, 29 June 2006 (UTC)


In Radiotelegraphy section the article currently says : Alexander Stepanovich Popov demonstrated to the public his receiver of wireless signals, also used as a lightning detector, on the 7 of May, 1895. This is in comparison to Tesla, who was able to detect signals from the transmissions of his New York lab at West Point (a distance of 50 miles) in the beginning of 1895. [1]

AFAIK, Popov demostrated his receiver to community of scientists on May, 7th of 1895.The same year the fact of demonstration of this lightning detector was described in scientific newspapers - Kronshtadtsky Vestnik printed May,12ve of 1895 and in Journal of Russian Physics-Chemistry Society. Therefore, there are written evidences of A.S. Popov's work. What about Tesla *in comparison*? Are there similar articles about "his ability to detect signals from the transmission etc" in any newspapers or scientific journals printed in 1895? What about technical details of Tesla's apparatus? Sea diver 02:01, 22 June 2006 (UTC)

opening paragraph wording[edit]

the opening paragraph states that the original media of transmission was by wire ... later in the article it talks of optical telegraphs and indeed there is an image of an optical telegraph tower. In my view there are several types of telegraph distinguished by their transmission media .... 1] acoustic (discussed in Victorian Internet) 2] optical 3] pnematic (once agn in Victorian Internet) 4] ship's telegraph - media is chain or cable WIRE

    maybe this is what was meant by originally by wire :-) :--)
    might also be debated on one's view of distance

5] wire as in Morse/Wheatstone telegraphs 6] wireless (aka radio) as a newbie to wiki (in fact this is first edit) i do not feel i have experience or credentials to touch main article but hope someone else sees my point and touches it up. Also would like feedback on my viewpoint. tnx! JOHN RUSSELL VE3LL@RAC.CA


If, as stated in the article, "The word telegraph alone generally refers to an electrical telegraph" then shouldn't "telegraph" redirect to electrical telegraph and not telegraphy? pACMANx 23:30, 10 August 2006 (UTC)

I was just thinking the same thing. -- Blarrrg 13:05, 4 October 2006 (UTC)

Earth Batteries - first use.[edit]

Would a telegraphy historian please check the Telluric current article and correct as needed the statement on first use of an earth battery for telegraphy.

You might also add some additional information on this subject to the Earth battery article. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 10:54, 23 December 2006 (UTC).

Napoleon Dynamite?[edit]

If I'm mistaken feel free to undo my change, but I don't think telegraphs helped napoleon dynamite much. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 02:52, 22 January 2007 (UTC).


The opening pic of "Optical Telegraf of Claude Chappe" is quite confusing, due to the modern atenna on the top. If this photo is going to be used, it should be cropped to the roof line. *** The article is missing all of the basic images one would expect: a morse code keyer, a typical printed telegram from the early 1900s, telegraph wires strung from pole to pole in the countryside. They should be added, and would be more appropriate images to start the article with.- 12:31, 28 March 2007 (UTC)

Just to be clear, the opening pic is a beautiful picture (thank-you to the provider) of a well-preserved or restored chappe optical semaphore on top of a tower. The vanes, cross-piece and balance-weights are all clearly visible. There no antenna, and no confusion in the article. Ray Van De Walker 22:59, 18 February 2013 (UTC)

punctuation in telegrams -- why "stop"?[edit]

Somebody asked a good question on the RefDesk: why was the word "stop" used in telegrams rather than a period? (Or at least that's how it's depicted in movies.) The answer, sourced to an AP article [2] was that punctuation cost extra while the four-letter word was free. If that is true then it should go in the Wikipedia article telegraphy but I am skeptical. Was there not a charge for every word? Why should the word "stop" have been gratis? --Mathew5000 14:44, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

No references, but I believe the codes used only contained alphabetic and numeric symbols. There was no way to send punctuation. Rojomoke 23:22, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

Here is a reference suggesting that punctuation marks could be transmitted but it was somewhat unreliable. --Mathew5000 06:21, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

Ship's telegraph[edit]

I think there should be a section discussing the sort of telegraphs used on Victorian/Edwardian era ships to signal the engine room from the bridge. The sort that consisted of a dial and a handle for ordering the speed the engines should be run at.—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:07, 28 June 2007

I just did several searches on this and could only find people selling antiques, nothing about their operation. If anyone knows about these items, it might make a good addition to this or one of the associated articles. —Elipongo (Talk contribs) 22:18, 20 July 2007 (UTC)

TELEX by EMail[edit]

A quick search of the web shows that there still seem to be several companies offering an interface between TELEX and EMail. --jmb 13:43, 28 August 2007 (UTC)

can someone help me about telegraph transmission system.. how it works and what are the peripherals used for example the printers transmitter and receivers.. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:15, 20 September 2007 (UTC)

Yes, there's lots of good background on telexes, including the current implementation using email, at this Economist article. I hope someone can incorporate some of this material. Earthlyreason (talk) 11:20, 10 February 2008 (UTC)

Wireless Morse Code and Landline Morse Code[edit]

This article focuses on Wireless Morse Code which is fine when referring to a Wireless service, but the code used on Wired telegraph (a.k.a. Landline Telegraph) which was different not only did many of the characters differ but also the character spacing. The code that should be used in this example is American Morse code. The article should also be edited to express the differences between the two. As of now it compares the two as nearly identical which is not the case. The 'Morse Code" as we know it today would have simply been too hard to communicate accurately using the older telegraph systems. With the advent of radio and the use of a BFO to make the .(dits) and -(dahs) audible it made copying easier so the characters could become more complex. --Dp67 | QSO | Sandbox | UBX's 05:21, 20 October 2007 (UTC)

TWX transitional era, Baudot to ASCII[edit]

I recall at my father's office in the late 50s they had a "3-row" TWX machine, and it had a normal phone number (216-486-something). During the transitional period when the 4-row ASCII machines, model 33ASR, came into use, they had the special "area codes" 510, 610, 710, 810, 910 and if you called from one type to another the system did the code conversion for you. Eventually they dropped the special area codes and the conversion service and went to normal phone numbers, but you couldn't call a TWX machine from a computer with a modem because they had reversed the modem tones in some fashion. ;Bear 04:01, 1 December 2007 (UTC)

You are correct in the fact that the Bell System offered both "3-row" Baudot and "4-row" ASCII TWX service up to the late 1970s. The "3-row" Baudot, the special area codes (510, 610, 710 and 810) and the Baudot to ASCII code/speed conversion continued right up to 1979-1980 when Western Union moved away from the Telephone Company switching hardware to the Western Union Telex II system. Any remaining "3-row" Baudot cusotmers were converted to Western Union Telex service by 1979-1980.
The code/speed conversion was accomplished using a "10A/B board" via a live operator. A TWX customer would place a call to the 10A/B board operator for Baudot - ASCII calls, ASCII - Baudot calls and also TWX Conference calls. The code /speed conversion was done by a Western Electric unit that provided this capability. There were multiple code /speed conversion units at each operator position.
A reason why TWX machines and POTS lines (and computers on a POTS line) could not connect was Class of Service (COS). In addition to having separate Area Codes for the TWX service, the TWX lines were also supposed to be set up with a special COS to prevent connections to and from POTS to TWX and vice versa. Wa3frp 13:51, 1 December 2007 (UTC)

The TWX section heading is missing[edit]

The TWX section heading and the first paragraph of the TWX section are missing. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:55, 7 December 2007 (UTC)

Outdated statistics[edit]

Some of the statistics in this article seem quite out of date. To wit: Germany was listed as having 400,000 telex lines in daily operation. According to the German Wikipedia article and my own recollection, there were only a few dozen lines left in by early 2007. The service was discontinued entirely on 31 December 2007. – I am deleting that reference but suggest more research and editing; I don't have the data. Polartysken (talk) 02:32, 5 February 2008 (UTC)

Wheatstone + display problems in Firefox[edit]

This article seems to shortchange Wheatstone and, in its section on the Wheatstone telegraph contradicts Wikipedia's Wheatstone article on early British railway telegraphy.

Also, the graphic of Morse's message 'What hath God wrought?' overlaps the text. I don't know how to fix such things. --APW (talk) 07:53, 23 February 2008 (UTC)

Too much content for one telegraphy article[edit]

The article is too wide ranging to be useful, In my opinion. Focus on telegraphy, or the history of Telex/TWX, or the arcania of the hardware, but not all in one article. (talk) 22:35, 23 April 2008 (UTC) (ralphw)

I have to agree. For example, the lengthy section on "Telex" should clearly be in its own article with only a short summary on this article. Does anyone else agree? Mixsynth (talk) 22:18, 1 March 2009 (UTC)

Support splitting TELEX from article This article is clearly too long. Why doesn't the Telex article have its own longer article? I'm sure it used to, and whoever merged it probably had good intentions, but it doesn't work! ~Encise —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:56, 29 March 2009 (UTC)

I agree that TELEX should be split into it's own article. As it is, the telex article is very U.S. centric, and there is a LOT more than could and should be written about the telex services. Funny also that "Telex II" has it's own article but Telex does not. —Preceding unsigned comment added by FFM784 (talkcontribs) 18:03, 26 August 2009 (UTC)

Fully agree telex article should be split and confusing interchangeability btw telegram and telex service cleaned up -- telex service implied a telepriter and subscrition, and was mostly for business use, while telegram could be sent by anyone and delivered as a print out to any address. The article makes it all the same in a confusing way. --BBird (talk) 12:07, 5 September 2009 (UTC)

The Count of Monte Cristo and the telegraph system[edit]

In the story the Count bribes a telegraph operator to alter a message to the Count's advantage = is this an early example of hacking in fiction? Jackiespeel (talk) 16:42, 8 September 2008 (UTC)

Very likely; Check the date. If it is napoleonic or earlier, it was probably an optical semaphore operator. One rather neglected historical fact is that an optical semaphore traveled with Napoleon's field headquarters. This is difficult to confirm, but I've seen a woodcut. Ray Van De Walker 23:04, 18 February 2013 (UTC)


What is an "airgram"? Bastie (talk) 09:29, 17 December 2008 (UTC)

Receiving messages?[edit]


I am confused. When this machine received a telegraph signal did an operator have to interpet Morse code or did the machine do it automatically and print it? -- (talk) 05:44, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

That was the precise advantage to Telex machines: they automated the transmission and reception of telegraph messages. The operator would type a message being sent to its destination using a keyboard similar to an ordinary typewriter (but employing some extra function keys to control the Telex, just the same way computers have extra function keys), and the message would be automatically encoded and transmitted to its destination. Receiving was basically the same: the message would be printed out automatically on the machine after it had been received and decoded. Telex units, b.t.w., did not use 'Morse' code, but special computer code similar to ASCII I believe. --HarryZilber (talk) 15:34, 23 May 2009 (UTC
To clarify, Telex machines used the Baudot code, not Morse Code. Machines were in a dial network, similar to the telephone network. An transmitting operator would dial the number of the distant or receiving machine, again similar to a telephone. Once the two machines were connected, a lamp would light on both machines. The transmitting operator would confirm connection to the receiving machine by pressing the keys "Figs" "D", the signal for the receiving machine to active its answerback. The answerback was hard-coded in each Telex machine worldwide and was unique and published in the Telex directory. If the answerback was correct, the transmitting operator would transmit the message and press "Figs" "D" again at the end of the message to confirm that the connection was still there. Finally the transmitting operator would press the disconnect button. The receiving Telex machine did not need operator intervention. This was a feature of the service. Since the Telex network was a worldwide network, messages were sent across multiple time zones to their destination. It was common to send a Telex message to a location where the receiving Telex machine was operating in an office that was closed and unmanned. Wa3frp (talk) 13:57, 24 May 2009 (UTC)
My understanding is that operators typically punched a paper tape first, quite slowly, and then dialed a destination and sent the paper tape rapidly. This reduced connection costs. Also, if there were multiple receivers, it reduced the retyping. The answerback was in fact a local loop of particularly sturdy tape with a splice gluing the ends together. In early days it was lubricated paper. I personally have see aluminized mylar tape, used in the 1980s. Ray Van De Walker 23:09, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
Yes, operators would usually type the to-be-transmitted message via paper tape offline and then send the paper tape online for a couple of reasons. The first reason is the one that you mentioned, i.e. to reduce connection time and cost since calls were billed based on connection time. In addition, using a pre-punched paper tape, typing errors were reduced or eliminated as it is possible to correct spelling errors in the paper tape prior to tape transmission. There were a couple of ways to send to multiple receivers. The first way was the one that you mentioned. In addition, the Western Union domestic system in the USA had INFOMASTER. The telex operator could dial 6111, the directory telex number for INFOMASTER and using a described protocol, type all of the destination addresses, which could be telex machines, TWX machines, but also messages to be delivered as telegrams along with the text of the message. INFOMASTER would receive this information and during the connection accept or reject the message and then allow the operator to disconnect after only one connection. This ease of operation also shortened the time that the telex machine was online, freeing up use for new transmitted as well and allowing for the telex machine to be available for receiving possible incoming messages. See reference number 35 in the main article for more details about the Information Services Computer Center and INFOMASTER.
You are incorrect about the answerback mechanism being a local loop tape. This was always a pre-coded drum inside and out of access to the teleprinter's user, a Teletype LABD500 for Teletype Model 28 machines. The answerback was not to be changed as it permanently identified the telex machine's identify to the telex network. Otherwise, it would be very easy for anyone to change the machine's answerback which would cause many machine identification problems.
Finally, telex tape is oiled paper tape, still available on the Internet. Use a search engine using "oiled paper tape teleprinter" to find a number of currently available sources.Wa3frp (talk) 12:26, 19 February 2013 (UTC)


So what exactly is the handpiece called? Because I don't think anybody calls it a "telekey" or a "key". -- (talk) 09:50, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

Social Implications[edit]

This whole section is vague and of questionable importance.

"all but very small amounts of information could be moved" - Only very small amounts could originally be transmitted by telegraphy.

"only as fast as physical transportation (historically, human or animal) could travel: only a few miles per hour." - But not faster than the metaphysical transportation. Couldn't all this be said more succinctly: It was faster.

"telegraph freed communication from the constraints of geography." - What does this even mean? Why is it important? Moreover, if the first transatlantic cable was severed, that hardly seems to qualify for being freed from geography.

"It isolated the message (information) from the physical movement of objects or the process." - Very post-modernist. Now can anyone explain how this is different from being 'freed from the constraints of geography'?

Telegraphy allowed organizations to actively controlling physical processes at a distance (for example: railroad signaling and switching of rolling stock), multiplying the effectiveness and functions of communication. "...Once space was, in the phrase of the day, annihilated, once everyone was in the same place for the purposes of trade, time as a new region of experience, uncertainty, speculation, and exploration was opened up to the forces of commerce." - This is just horrendous. It's abstract, confusing and poorly written. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Yefi (talkcontribs) 22:01, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

Indented line I agree that this section of the article is very vague. It does little to point to the importance of the telegraph for the individual. Imagine the thrill of being able to send a message to someone across the country and have them receive it that same day. The telegraph drastically altered the way in which people communicated. I think this may be what this section is trying to convey, but it is doing it very poorly. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Sally.armstrong (talkcontribs) 23:36, 16 October 2011 (UTC)


This whole merged jumbled confusing "telegraphy" article sucks. You need a clear cut easy to understand article on the telegaphy, an article on the telex machine, and so on and so forth. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:25, 1 June 2009 (UTC)

Seconded. A telegram is not the same as a telex, at least to the layman, and one for whom telexing had effectively died for anyone under 40. Also, I would have thought that it was the fax machine, not email, that killed telex first. The Yeti (talk) 10:09, 5 June 2009 (UTC)
Not 100% sure but I seem to remember reading years ago that Telex messages were accepted by the courts for many years when FAX messages were not. It is obviously possible to print off something that looks like a Telex message but there is probably also an audit trail of the message through the Telex networks that could be used to verify its origin whereas all that can be proved for a FAX message is that there was a telephone call from A to B at a particular time (unless NSA have a copy!). --jmb (talk) 08:28, 16 September 2009 (UTC)

Two free telephone calls, emails, telexes or faxes[edit]

This is one of the rights given by the EU to air passengers in the case of certain delays.

How does the telex element of this work? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Msmh (talkcontribs) 00:20, 16 September 2009 (UTC)

complete bullshit. -- (talk) 10:52, 17 June 2010 (UTC)

E-mail displaces telegraphy[edit]

A section of several paragraphs on the history of e-mail has little to no relevancy here. Couldn't this entire section be replaced with one sentence and pointed to the e-mail article? Fkumbila (talk) 18:17, 10 December 2009 (UTC)

Nope -the transition from telegraphic communications to e-mail for written communications warrants more than a single sentence. However I'd suggest that the first two paragraphs be rewritten as they appear to be too technically oriented, possibly with material discussing the social significance of e-mail and its impact on business and society. HarryZilber (talk) 02:37, 13 December 2009 (UTC)
I dispute that email displaced telegraphy. My recollection - from working in the 1980s - is that the Fax displaced Telex. I worked for a company in the 1980s which had a dedicated Telex machine, and the Telex number printed on our business cards. Faxes took over in the 1980s and the machine was shut down in the late 1980s... and then it was the Fax number, not our email address, on our business cards. email between businesses never really took off until sometime in the 1990s, and initially pictures were not possible. From the mid 80s to the mid 90s, pretty well every business had a fax machine, not Telex and not necessarily email.
But that is just my recollection. Whether it was email or fax which displced Telex, it needs a reference. It's totally unacceptable that the claim is made unreferenced. Adpete (talk) 06:40, 1 September 2010 (UTC)

The definition of telegraphy used elsewhere in the article seems to include any form of long-distance syntactic communications. By this definition, email is telegraphy and could not meaningfully replace it. However, I think this broad definition should be mentioned early in the article, and either split or outright removed thereafter, preferring more restricted definitions focussing on telegram/TELEX/optical telegraph systems etc. I'm particularly uncomfortable with the "arrival of the internet" section which seems to be a random smattering of some (and not even the most significant) minor milestones in modern digital telecommunications. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Yjo (talkcontribs) 12:03, 7 September 2010 (UTC)

Of course you're right. It should be about what displaced Telex, and even that belongs in a separate Telex article. I'd rather this was a general telegraphy article, with pointer to articles on distinct implementations like Telex, Telegrams and the internet. (Email doesn't even belong, it's just a subset of the internet). Adpete (talk) 00:06, 8 September 2010 (UTC)

Needs a split[edit]

I've long known that Wikipedia reflects the biases and backgrounds of its editors, but even I was flabbergasted to discover that there are not separate articles for Telex and Telegram. Weren't any other Wikipedia editors alive in the 1970s? Anyway, I've tried to rectify this by creating Telex (network) (the Telex namespace is taken, another wrong call IMHO), and will delete the Telex section from this article in a few days unless there are compelling reasons not to. I might do the same with Telegram too. Adpete (talk) 07:23, 1 September 2010 (UTC)

Merge from Cablegram[edit]

The Cablegram article isn't any more than a definition and some information which should probably be part of this article. ~ Booya Bazooka 17:19, 4 December 2010 (UTC)


u ckdykltudoc tt67 j, —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:56, 20 May 2011 (UTC)

Merger proposal[edit]

I've reviewed the discussion and the articles in question. I've decided that the best decision is to restore the focus of the topic on the book, where it belongs. No merge is necessary. Viriditas (talk) 23:08, 1 September 2011 (UTC)

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

I propose that Victorian Internet be merged into Telegraphy. In the end the 'Victorian Internet' is not an actual concept; its really just a device used to inform digital-savvy readers about 19th century telegraphy. From the article, it seems to be a term is used primarily in connection with Sandage's book.

It would be more appropriate if the idea of the 'Victorian Internet' were mentioned in the telegraphy article. A brief statement should suffice, written along the lines o,f "the 19th century telegraph has sometimes been considered today as a sort of 'Victorian Internet', which [did...] in a way similar to the modern Internet. This analogy has particuarly been espoused by writers such as Tom Sandage, and [etc]". theBOBbobato (talk) 00:48, 30 June 2011 (UTC)

Oppose You missed the whole point of the Victorian Internet article. While it is true that "Victorian Internet" is synonomous with "Telegraph", the focus of the Victorian article is and should be on the many things that were similar, and not on the fact that a new technology replaced an older technology. The Victorian Internet article should be expanded to include how the telegraph was successfully used in warfare and the Internet was originally developed by the US Dept of Defense for use by the military in warfare. And the telegraph spawned the telephone just as the original DARPANET spawned the World Wide Web. And the telegraph made it possible to make "wire transfers" of money, just as the Internet made it possible to pay for products ordered over the Internet. These and several other comparisons will make the Victorian Internet stub a full size article that would lose focus if merged. Greensburger (talk) 02:20, 21 July 2011 (UTC)

Yes, but so what? I really don't see how a few points of similarity between the internet and the telegraph merits its own article. There are many points of similarity between many things, but they don't all merit articles. If the comparison between telegraph and the internet has been made, then It should be mentioned, sure, but there really should be nothing more than the mention.
Even then, it doesn't really doesn't make very much sense, though, when you think about it. The telegraph is not solely a Victorian technology. It was still possible and normal to make wire transfers over the telegraph, and to use it in warfare, in the 1950s and 60s and 80s. The new forms of communication brought in by telegraphy were still possible on the eve of the Net. So why not call it also the "Cold War Internet"? Or the "WWII internet"? While we're at it, why not go further than the mere telegraph?
Why not call television the ”1950s Youtube”? After all, it allowed the mass consumption of audiovisual material half a century before 2005. Why not call the postal service the ”paper e-mail"? It allowed the comparitively swift and efficient exchange of messages. Or the Yongle encyclopedia the "Ancient Chinese Wikipedia"? They're both encyclopedias. Better yet, a call-in advice program can be called the "Radio Google". It allowed people, for the first time, the ability to solve their everyday issues electronically and immediately.
If it is shocking and stimulating to learn that people 150 years ago were able to transmit messages over long distances and conduct business over the wires, then it is only because because you didn't know about it before. Such things have been taken for granted for decades, and were taken for granted by the people who were first introduced to the Net. They still were interested by the new tech. There's much more to the internet than wiring and messaging.theBOBbobato (talk) 15:00, 23 July 2011 (UTC)
The above strikes me as an argument for deleting the Victorian Internet article, not for merging it with this one. If you feel the subject lacks merit, I think you should propose deleting that article and make that argument in Talk:Victorian Internet. -- Pemilligan (talk) 18:07, 23 July 2011 (UTC)
I don't neccesarily think that the subject lacks merit. I just think that the merit of the matter lies in the fact that it is a somewhat current idea (a book has been written about it, writers have referenced it, people have been interested in it), rather than the worth of its ideas, and it would do it enough credit to simply give the 'victorian internet' a brief mention in the telegraphy article.theBOBbobato (talk) 18:46, 23 July 2011 (UTC)

A stub article should not be deleted merely because it has not yet been expanded into a full article. Other books have made additional comparisons. For example, on the use of the telegraph for military messages, such as the book "Mr. Lincoln's T-mails" (T meaning telegraph). This stub has potential, so give it time to grow. Greensburger (talk) 03:35, 24 July 2011 (UTC)

Oppose. The article represents a valid historical perspective on a stage in the shift of global historic communications which has been noted in other texts as well as the one mainly cited. The article could easily be expanded under its current subject matter as a branch of communications development. It would have clear referential value in other articles as well. --CKJ (talk) 00:15, 23 August 2011 (UTC)

Amazing! Surely everyone knows that "The Victorian Internet" article is a just blatent piece of advertising for Tim Sandwich's book? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:25, 25 August 2011 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.


' Around 1960[?], some nations began to use the "figures" Baudot codes to perform "Type B" Telex routing. ' Looks very encyclopedic; doesn't it? (talk) 00:35, 5 March 2012 (UTC)

"sweeping changes" (rx and sx)[edit]

Okay, I made a mistake; I thought the whole section had been replaced by (sx and rx). So I take back the edit summary comment of "sweeping changes", but I feel that the revert is justified anyway; these terms would require more explanation for a lay reader. Nczempin (talk) 17:02, 21 June 2012 (UTC)

Introducing jargon abbreviations might be useful in an apprentice's training book if they are likely to repeatedly come across them in the course of their work, but in an encyclopedia article it is utterly pointless when they are not actually used in the article. SpinningSpark 20:19, 21 June 2012 (UTC)

Telegraph Repeater[edit]

Who is the inventor? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Pitri2009 (talkcontribs) 10:46, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

Edison, according to most sources. SpinningSpark 23:20, 24 August 2012 (UTC)


The article indicates a whole lot of progress in the area of 1995-2000. If these dates were 1895-1900, I'd find it plausible. Wireless telegraphy was dying between 1995 and 2000, not being invented! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:19, 24 August 2012 (UTC)

What hath God wrought![edit]

I must stress that this is an exclamation, and not a question, as any look at Numbers 23:23 will confirm. It's there in the King James & other translations. "What hath God wrought!" - Samuel Morse was a Calvinist, and was probably marvelling at the possibilities the telegraph would bring to the world.-ginkgobiloba- (talk) 21:06, 21 February 2013 (UTC)

Please see a decode of the original message as sent at (talk) 23:17, 21 February 2013 (UTC)
Puzzling -ginkgobiloba- (talk) 12:07, 22 February 2013 (UTC)

World's last?[edit]

A lot of papers are reporting that India is the last country with a telegraph service, but that doesn't seem to be correct, as you can still send telegrams in Hungary. It would be nice to get a source citation for this. Kendall-K1 (talk) 16:46, 17 June 2013 (UTC)

False rumor which was originally reported here: Fkumbila (talk) 20:32, 17 June 2013 (UTC)

November 2013[edit]

Hi, The article didn't focus on the fundamental developments and had an excessive level of detail for things like Telex and its method of operation.Noodleki (talk) 21:20, 26 November 2013 (UTC)

Why don't you respond here?Noodleki (talk) 23:06, 26 November 2013 (UTC)
I was trying too, you edit conflited me SpinningSpark 23:12, 26 November 2013 (UTC)
You have done a lot more than that. Such a huge change needs some discussion first. You have entirely removed the Terminology section, which if nothing else useful has a discussion on what counts as a telegraph, and I would have thought that Morse's views on this were certainly notable and germaine to the article. Your separation of early developments and commercial telegraphy also needs some discussion. Do you have a source for this division? Schillings telegraph (whose name you have misspelled by the way) was clearly intended to be put into service, although it never was. Likewise, some of the Cooke and Wheatstone telegraphs were intended to be commercial but were never a success. Putting the link to Cooke and Wheatstone telegraph as a hatnote also gives the false impression that the whole section is about them and they are solely responsible for commercial develpment. Those are just the problems I can see at a glance. What really needs expanding in this article is not the electric telegraph part, we already have an article on that, but the pre-electric telegraphs. That would make this a much more useful article. SpinningSpark 23:12, 26 November 2013 (UTC)
Yes, I don't know what happened to the terminology section, I didn't mean to remove that. On cooke & wheatstone, their telegraph is generally regarded as the first system used commercially here, however, I can remove the hatnote if you want. On pre-electric telegraphs, there is an article - semaphore line.Noodleki (talk) 12:27, 27 November 2013 (UTC)
That's starting to make it more acceptable if you intend to keep the terminology section. Cooke and Wheatstone telegraph should be linked, but in an appropriate place in running text, not as a hatnote.
A big objection I have to your reworking is that you have succeeded in utterly minimizing the work of Morse and paying undue attention to Cooke and Wheatstone. C&W are certainly important, but they really should not be given more space than Morse; it was the Morse telegraph that became the international standard whereas C&W was limited to British Empire. Your version removes any mention of Morse from the history summary and no longer gives the Morse telegraph its own subhead. It is relegated to a brief paragraph.
As I said above, the article already gives undue weight to the electric telegraph when it should be about all forms of telegraph. Your reworking only made that situation worse. One little snippet here: Cooke and Wheatstone repeatedly lost bids for railway telegraphs to pneumatic telegraph systems. Pneumatic telegraphs are not mentioned at all. Nor are the mechanical telegraph systems that became ubiquitous for signalling to train drivers in the 19th and 20th centuries. Nor is the mechanical ship's telegraph which also became ubiquitous. Ancient and Napoleonic use of telegraphs could also do with some expansion. There are many many historical examples of the use of signal fires; Claudius for instance, used this method to signal for reinforcements all the way back to Rome during the Roman invasion of Britain. SpinningSpark 13:21, 27 November 2013 (UTC)
Your argument that the semaphore line article exists as a reason for not expanding pre-electric telegraphs does not make sense. Why does the same argument not apply to the electric telegraph article? SpinningSpark 13:31, 27 November 2013 (UTC)
I am willing to expand the section on Morse, although I think priority in space should go to the first successful system, which was C&W. On pneumatic and ship Ts, I don't know much about, although I could add info about semaphore.Noodleki (talk) 21:23, 27 November 2013 (UTC)

RFC notification[edit]

There is a request for comment at Electrical telegraph which concerns this article. SpinningSpark 19:11, 5 January 2014 (UTC)

Teleprinters section needs work[edit]

I was reviewing the Teleprinters section, realizing that there is a separate article on this subject, and noted that the current paragraphs contain some interesting, but disjoint, information about teleprinters. It's my opinion that this part of the Telegraphy article should be high level, with the details in the separate article on the subject of teleprinters. I will take a stab at this effort while moving any teleprinter details that are found in this section over to the main article, if I find them missing. Any help that you may wish to offer is appreciated.Wa3frp (talk) 15:17, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

"The telegraph lines from Britain to India were connected in 1870"[edit]

This is wrong. There was an overland telegraph route to India in 1866. You can see this in newspapers of the period as they have reports "by overland telegraph". I don't have any better sources than the British Newspaper Archive - surely someone has written a book about this?? Best that I have is Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser - Saturday 15 December 1866, page 7 column 4 which gives some description of the route and the time taken for transmission. ThoughtIdRetired (talk) 21:49, 11 April 2014 (UTC)

It was correct but misleading, the section was about submarine telegraph cables, first laid in 1870. Took a stab at cleaning it up. Fountains of Bryn Mawr (talk) 22:56, 11 April 2014 (UTC)
Thanks. I don't suppose you know any more about the overland route? I have been trying to understand how the Pall Mall Gazette of 11 Jun 1866 reported on an event in China on 30 May. The only reasonable explanation is a ship from Hong Kong (the apparent source of the report) to a cable station in India. (The event was the The Great Tea Race of 1866 - I am working on a full rewrite of this article.)ThoughtIdRetired (talk) 08:11, 12 April 2014 (UTC)
Don't know much about it other than its very interesting. One point I noticed that looks to be missed by the article is an explanation whether this was a race against the clock or a physical race, since they all had different start times. 6 June was given for the last ship start so 11 June may be the time it takes transfer a message by telegraph and other means in the distance from Hong Kong to GB. I do not think a ship can get from Hong Kong to India in any of those time frames. Fountains of Bryn Mawr (talk) 15:24, 12 April 2014 (UTC)
The front runners had all sailed by the end of 30th May and they were the only ones in the newspaper article. I am working on finding other sources, but the unavoidable assumption is that the overland telegraph to India was involved somewhere. I will see if I can track down scheduled steamer times between China and India (probably P&O as they had the mail contract at the time I believe).ThoughtIdRetired (talk) 20:29, 12 April 2014 (UTC)
Singapore to Hong Kong: 5 days by a contemporary steamer. All we need to know is were the nearest telegraph office in India was - because that would probably be about another 4 or 5 days sailing. The overland telegraph did have some delays. I infer from newspaper reports that messages were recorded (presumably by hand) at certain intermediate telegraph stations and then retransmitted.ThoughtIdRetired (talk) 21:17, 12 April 2014 (UTC)

Перевести на русском[edit]

А не проще русским пользователям Википедии перевести эту страницу? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Максим Грибанов (talkcontribs) 18:59, 30 July 2014 (UTC)

JFTR, for those who do not read Russian, this means:
"Translate to Russian
Is it not easier for the Russian Wikipedia users to translate this page themselves?"
Not sure what the point of the comment is; maybe I'm missing some context. Russian Wikipedians are welcome to translate any article on English Wikipedia they like into Russian, and this is actually encouraged, see WP:TrU. You do not need our approval, the Wikimedia Creative Commons licence covers this already!
No doubt it is much easier for the Russian Wikipedians to perform these translations, especially for first-language speakers or bilinguals, than for second-language speakers! It's an old wisdom in translation that translating into your native language is preferrable to trying to translate into a foreign language, although the ideal translator should be highly preficient in both languages. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 21:18, 4 August 2015 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

Hello fellow Wikipedians,

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Question? Archived sources still need to be checked

Cheers. —cyberbot IITalk to my owner:Online 17:48, 27 August 2015 (UTC)

Marvelous, marvellous, or wonderful?[edit]

See this diff. The US and UK spellings of marvelous/marvellous may not matter much, if the quote is wrong to begin with. According to the Marconi Society, Lord Samuel, Postmaster General at the time, stated: "Those who have been saved have been saved through one man, Mr. Marconi and his wonderful invention." Other sources may be found using marvelous and marvellous. Not married to any one of them... Just plain Bill (talk) 16:57, 16 September 2015 (UTC)

Well we need a cite in the article first, then the spelling should follow the source. All the cites with marvel(l)ous I have seen have ellipses in the quote, which may mean they have run together a later sentence from the speech. See this version in a book by Marconi's widow which gives a rather different version without ellipses. That is also the only source that I have seen that fully identifies the venue and date of the speech, which speaks for its reliability. SpinningSpark 17:33, 17 September 2015 (UTC)