Run by thought, held together by metal and wires.
The telegraph was first bought about in 1837, but it was not perfected until 1838 by Morse. Having his wife die on him without him finding out until much later, Morse decided that there must be a faster way to communicate.
And so the telegraph was born.
Labeled as ‘The Pulse of the World’ by Mackay in 1921 the telegraph was connecting the toes of the world to the hair on its head.
For the first time in human history information was being sent and received on the same day. Obviously much slower that it is being received today, but never the less it was same day delivery.
This meant that finance, news, politics, weather and sport were being shared much more easily. Increasing people’s interests in them as they had as up to date information as they possibly could receive.
As the New York Herald said, ‘It requires no small intellectual effort to realise that this is a fact that now is, and not one that has been.’ It truly was the time is now. The telegraph system was being compared to a human body. It was growing and expanding. Reaching out and functioning in all aspects of the world. Connecting far off places, making information possible anywhere.
Not only was faster communication a result of the telegraph, but also time zones were created in the late 19th Century.
But it was not all positively received. ‘Too fast for the truth’ was one term that came out of the creation of the telegraph. Some people were feeling that due to news outlets having up to the minute information from around the globe, there was a decrease in the quality of the information presented to the public.
Some were happy with this rapid increase of information. Others were less so optimistic. Blaming the lack of quality and increased quantity on the telegraph.
This early example of overwhelming information can be traced forward to social media platforms today. With Twitter allowing users to Tweet over and over again about what they’re going to eat. And Facebook allowing 745 bathroom selfies to be posted from the bathroom at McDonalds.
I mean what a time to be alive!
But in all sincerity, it was a huge change for society. Suddenly the world was connected almost everywhere.
Then in 1876 Alexander Bell patented the telephone. Apart from his wife being deaf and never having the chance to speak to her on this new and great invention, it was great success.
Apart from being able to speak to someone in real time, and hear their voice (!), ‘telephone girls’ were giving females one of the first ever employment opportunities for women. Women were employed as they were seen to polite towards customers, unlike the young currier boys who often tricked clients.
Finally the radio and television were another new technologies introduced to connect people and provide information. The military used these especially.
So by the end of the 20th Century there were numerous technologies created to spread and send information, connecting people from all around the world.
With all of this information spreading there needed to be a way to secure confidential messages. So the Enigma machine was invented by a German company. This allowed telegraphs to become encrypted by the operator and then unscrambled by the receiver.
Obviously this created much interest to people wishing to break these codes. Especially as the Enigma was used during World War Two.
And so began hacking, which has lead to current day computerising. Alan Turing is considered to be the first hacker, creating a machine called the Bombe which was able to decipher the Enigma’s code.
This was incredibly useful for the Allied forces who had employed Turing and mathematicians to created the Bombe machine as it allowed Allied generals to decipher the German commands before their Commanders could. Thus giving the Allied forces the upper hand in the war.
And then came the internet. Turing is thought to be one of the most prominent people for the being of computers into modern day society. By the late 20th Century and into the very early 21st Century, the Internet became very popular. This is due to it allowing totally freedom and expression at no cost (Sterling).
So from starting with telegraphs that took a few minutes to receive word for word, to the Internet allowing people to connect instantly from anywhere on the globe that has an internet connection. So really almost all the limbs are connected in a hyper coloured light.
- ‘A Short History of the Internet’, Sterling, B 1993