April 27 honors with the American National Morse Code Day the idea of the inventor Samuel Finley Breese Morse (1791-1872). Reason enough to follow our transatlantic neighbors on this matter and to include Morse Code in the collection of curious holidays from all over the world. What is the story behind this invention?
Apr. 27, 1791 – Happy Birthday Samuel Finley Breese Morse
Even if it is completely unclear who started Morse Code Day and since when exactly it has been celebrated in the United States, at least a very concrete reason for choosing the date on April 27 can be found. In keeping with the Anglo-Saxon tradition of celebrating a person’s day of honor on their date of birth and not, as in Germany, for example, on the day of their death, National Morse Code Day falls on the birthday of the aforementioned Samuel Finley Breese Morse, inventor of the Morse code and of the first usable Morse code or writing telegraph (see also the other articles from the calendar of curious birthdays ).
Morse was born on April 27, 1791 in Charlestown, Massachusetts, and was not only an inventor, but also a university professor of painting, sculpture and drawing. In short, tinkerer and art professor. While his role as an artist or art historian plays a subordinate role in the present context, his invention from 1837 should be emphasized all the more.
The invention of the electric telegraph and Morse code
In 1833, together with his colleague and assistant Alfred Lewis Vail, he developed the aforementioned electric writing telegraph and an early form of Morse code. The first tests were then carried out in 1837, whereby this form of Morse code with only ten transferred digits was still quite rudimentary and had to be laboriously translated into meaningful letters or words with the help of a table.
Through these inventions, Morse and Vail also created the conditions for what would become established in the following years as electrical telegraphy, especially in the USA. Namely a transmission method for transmitting letters, numbers and characters, which reduces them to three symbols or signals (short, long and pause) and can be transmitted as a code in the form of a tone and / or radio signal or electrical pulse over a telephone line .
The great advantage of this method: In principle, it is not limited to electrical transmission, but can be implemented with any medium that can handle two unambiguous states (on and off or sound and no sound) that can be defined in terms of length of time. Here one speaks of the so-called Morse telegraphy.
The further development of the Morse code by Alfred Lewis Vail
On the basis of the procedure described above, Alfred Lewis Vail continued to develop the chosen path from 1838 and created the first Morse code, which could also be used to transmit letters in the form of three different lengths and different pauses.
This so-called Land Line Code or American Morse Code was then also used in the USA by national railways and, above all, telegraph companies until well into the 1960s. Even if the Morse code has lost its original meaning in the digital age – telegraphing was discontinued in the USA in 2006 – its principle is still used in shipping and in the field of amateur radio.
And who can not do anything of you so that, for / offering on April 27 with the World Design Day, the Kings Day or Day of the King and National Day prime rib at least three other calendrical alternatives.
In this sense: Happy Birthday Samuel Finley Breese Morse and a great day of American National Morse Code Day to all of you.