Telegraph Office and Admissions Area
It is very appropriate that our visitors begin their Museum tour at a 1900 telegraph office. The telegraph, a device first proposed in 1753 and first built in 1774, was an impractical machine until Samuel Morse unveiled his first telegraph device in 1837 using a one-wire system. In 1838, Morse had developed an improved system and created a dot-dash coding system we call Morse Code which would become the standard throughout the world. By 1854, there were 23,000 miles of telegraph wire in operation.
In 1851, one of the companies that would become Western Union was formed in Rochester, New York by Hiram Sibley. By 1900, Western Union operated a million miles of telegraph lines and two international undersea cables.
Although Samuel Morse did not invent the telegraph and did not single-handedly create Morse Code, he may have been telegraph’s greatest promoter, and undoubtedly contributed to its rapid development and adoption throughout the world. The era of electronic communication was born.