From Telegraph to Wireless, three articles on telegraph history, from the 1851-1904 New York Times

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The New York Times,
    December 3, 1851, p.4:


Great Telegraphic Feat.

    A note from the telegraph agent of the Associated Press informs us that Mr. Bulkley, the Superintendent of the New-Orleans Telegraph line, has invented a "Connector" by means of which, placed at each station on the line, the operators are enabled to "turn the current of electricity from their offices, and thus connect the most extreme points."

    The "Connectors" by some ingenious mechanism--only fully understood by the intelligent and practical inventor--have the effect to renew the magnetic force wherever applied, by which means the great difficulty of "writing in long circuits" is wholly overcome.

    This invention, therefore, would seem destined to become one of the most important aids in the "annihilation of space."

  1915 Western Union ad
Western Union ad, Sept 8, 1915 NY Times
    We understand that the New-Orleans line under Mr. B's superintendence has been supplied with these "Connectors," and their practical utility for the purposes desired were very satisfactorily tested to-day, by enabling Mr. Long and his accomplished assistants in the office in this City--to hold a direct and instantaneous chit chat with their fellow operators in the office at New-Orleans--a distance by the wires of 2,300 miles. Business messages were also sent with the same rapidity.

The New York Times, August 8, 1856, p.1:

Western Union Telegraph Company.

    The three of four rival Telegraph Companies west of Buffalo and the Ohio have recently disposed of their dilapidated lines and other telegraphic interests to the Western Union Telegraph Company, a new concern, which numbers among its members some of the most respectable, wealthy, and influential gentlemen of this and the Northwestern States.

    H. Sibley, Esq., of Rochester, has been elected President of the new Company, and his well-known energy and practical experience in telegraphic matters eminently fit him for his present position.

    Under the direction of the new Company, the lines are being rapidly resuscitated, and bid fair at an early day to be among the best managed and reliable in the country.

The New York Times, May 8, 1904, p.SM1:

FROM THE FIRST CLICK OF THE

TELEGRAPH INSTRUMENT

TO THE

WIRELESS MESSAGE OF TO-DAY

It Was in May, 1844, that Morse Sent the First Dispatch
Between New York and Washington--Now the Whole World Talks Together.


    The sixtieth anniversary of the initial operation of the American telegraph is almost at hand. To be exact, it was on the 24th of May, 1844, that the first message was sent over the line constructed under Morse's direction between New York and Baltimore...

    When civilized nations had ceased to wonder at the marvel of the telegraph... a new factor was in rapid transmission was developed in the invention of the wireless system of telegraphy... during the present war... reports of events of the utmost importance are daily transmitted from the scene of conflict by means of this potent factor in the world's news gathering service, and published to the world in The New York Times.

    And there is still another phase of telegraphy about which the public has as yet heard practically nothing, but which it seems has already reached a stage that promises remarkable results.

    J. C. Barclay, the Assistant General Manager of the Western Union, announced to a Times representative yesterday that the company is about to introduce a novel system by means of which any one capable of operating an ordinary typewriter will be able to transmit a message, which will be received in facsimile on a typewriter at a distant station.
    "This is my own invention," said Mr. Barclay, "and it is practically completed. The message consists simply of the transmission of a positive and negative current, which forms a system of characters; each character sets the receiving instrument in a position to convey these characters to a receiving magnet.

    "It will be possible in time for a newspaper correspondent in Chicago to transmit his matter directly to a machine prepared to receive it in New York. It will also be possible by means of this invention to apply the same principle to the linotype machines in newspaper composing rooms, so that as the correspondent sends in his messages they will be set up ready for the stereotypers.

    "I have been working on this for over a year. And I am now in a position to say positively that it is in successful working shape...

    "Perhaps no better exhibit of the marvelous development of the telegraph is to be found than in the records of the Western Union's growth.

    "In 1866 the company operated 37,380 miles of poles and cables and 75,686 miles of wire. It had 2,250 offices.

    "In 1903 the record is 196,517 miles of poles and cables, 1,089,212 miles of wire, and 23,120 offices.

    "In 1866 it handled between four and five million messages; in 1903, 69,790,866 messages, not including those sent over leased wires, railroad lines, or leased press circuits.

    "In 1866 the average toll per message to the public was $1.047, and in 1903 it was $0.314.

    "When Morse invented [his] telegraph, he invented the best system that has been introduced up to the present time. But he had no idea that the young American had such a quick ear for music that it woudl enable him to discard the old record register and take the messages by ear. I do not think at the present time there is in use a single one of the registers for recording messages. Everything to-day is done by sound.

    "The first telegraph lines were operated by what is known as the Valland battery. To operate the wires of this company out of New York we would require over 1,000,000 cells of these batteries.

    "The lines to-day are operated from small dynamo engines that occupy a space not to exceed from fifteen to forty inches. Just imagine the amount of space saved by the new method."

    The old fashioned register--known as an embossing register--consisted of a sharp pen operated by a magnet. The paper to receive the message was run through rollers and the characters were embossed by the pen on the paper as it passed through. These registers were in use until the early sixties.

    "The men operating under the old system," said Mr. Barclay, "every now and then caught by ear an individual letter. Then they discovered eventually that the registers were not needed, as they were able to differentiate the characters merely by the sounds they made. In the evolution of this simple process lies another vast step in the development of the modern system of telegraphy.

    "The quadruplex invented by Edison makes it possible to transmit four messages simultaneously over one wire. We have also an important auxiliary in the Wheatstone system, which enables us to send a message over a line 500 miles long at a rate of 400 words a minute.

    "At the time that first message was sent between Baltimore and Washington it was considered marvelous. But with the improved conductivity of the wire and instruments of to-day we think nothing of working from New York to San Francisco, a distance of 3,300 miles, and the longest land line in existence. A message can be transmitted from New York to 'Frisco in one minute, the same time that it takes to transmit one from New York to Jersey City.

    With other improved machinery we are able to work land lines between New York and Florida, in connection with submarine lines between Florida and Cuba, giving Havana direct communication, over which we frequently transmit in from five to fifteen seconds. We also transmit cablegrams from New York to London in ten seconds by manual relays at Canso (Nova Scotia) and Penzance. This, indeed, is a daily occurance.

    "The broker on the Stock Exchange in London is in as close touch with the Stock Exchange in New York as is the man in Jersey City or Brooklyn, And it is pleasant to remember that experts representing the various Governments of Europe have conceded that the American telegraph is from twenty-five to fifty years in advance of their own.

    "The dissemination of stock, grain, and other quotation into offices of various customers in which is employed the Gold and Stock ticker system, and the installation of call boxes, of which there are 50,000 in New York alone, enabling any one simply by turning a crank to have a messenger at his service for the sending of a telegram, are features, too, that are worth considering in connection with the wonderful growth of the telegraph system."

The Federal Reserve Bank's estimated consumer price index shows that $1 in 1904 was equivalent to $23.90 in 2008.
 
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