Samuel Morse

Main

Born in Charlestown, Massachusetts

April 27, 1791

Samuel Finley Breese Morse

Morse enters Yale College

1805

At age 14, Morse hears a lecture on electricity from Benjamin Silliman and Jeremiah Day.

Studies painting in England

1811 - 1815

While in England Morse wins a gold medal at a London Exhibition for his painting of the Dying Hercules, receiving critical acclaim.

Morse Borthers receive first patent

1817

Samuel and brother Sidney Morse patent a flexible-piston, man-powered water pump designed for fire engines. though a successful demonstration, it proved to be a commercial failure.

Danish physicist makes electrical discovery

1820

Hans Christian Oersted discovers that and electric current is capable of generating magnetic fields that can deflect the needle of a compass. This property is eventually used in Morse telegraph designs.

Electromagnet is invented.

1825

William Sturgeon creates this key component to the telegraph.

Morse found the National Academy of Design

1826

Morse becomes a founder and the first president of this national art school. His presidency lasts 19 years.

Morse begins familiarity with electricity

1827

Professor James Freeman Dana gives a lecture on electricity and electromagnetism at the New York Athenaeun. Morse allows lectures here and through their friendship Morse begins his studies with electricity.

Possibility of telegraph suggested

1831

American scientist Joseph Henry announces his discovery of a powerful electromagnet, which can send signals over long distances, suggesting the idea of telegraphy.

Morse begins dot-dash system

1832

After discussing the idea of an electromagnet telegraphing system with Dr. Charles T. Jackson, Morse is inspired to begin writing prototypes for an electromagnetic recording telegraph.

Morse also begins devising a system of dots and dashes for his electromagnetic telegraph idea.

Morse appointed professor of painting and sculpture

1832

Morse is appointed professor at the University of the City of New York.

Morse builds recording telegraph

1835

Morse constructs his first recording telegraph built with a moving paper ribbon; he then demonstrates it to close friends.

Morse made professor of Literature of the Arts and Design

1835

at the University of the City of New York

Morse gains partners in his invention

1837

Throughout 1837 Morse gains partner Dr. Leonard Gale due to his assistance in planning relays for the telegraph system.

Alfred Vail, who is an aquaintance of Morse, becomes a partner thanks to his monetary resources, skill in mechanics, and access to iron works to build the models.

Telegraph is claimed

1837

Charles T. Jackson, a previous acquaintance of Morse, claims to be the inventor of the telegraph. Morse manages to receive witness statements proving that he is the rightful inventor.

This marks the first of a series of legal battles Morse will face.

Progress made in telegraph system and creation

1838

During 1838 Morse demonstrates his telegraphy system to a number of high officials. One such official, Congressman Smith, becomes another partner, making efforts to pass a $30,000 telegraph line that would span 50 miles. This attempt is unsuccessful.

Morse receives patent

1840

Morse receives his patent for his telegraph.

Morse opens studio

1840

Morse opens his own daguerreotype studio and begins teaching others the daguerreotype photography process.

Successful telegraph lines built

1842 - 1843

Underwater, Below-ground, and above-ground lines are built for the telegraph system. The below-ground system is the only one to fail.

Telegraph becomes well-known

1846

With spreading popularity of the telegraph, multiple telegraph companies are growing. This expanding variance of the telegraph threatens Morse's patent claims.

12,000 miles of telegraph line

1849

By 1849, the year of Morse's fourth child's birth, there are an estimated 12,000 miles of telegraph lines expanding across the U.S.

Morse success grows

1852 - 1859

During this time span Congress upholds Morse's telegraph patents. Morse begins receiving payments for telegraph designs used.

The Western Union Telegraph Company is formed by the unity of small telegraph companies.

The first trans-Atlantic telegraph is sent in 1858.Ten European governments award Morse a total $400,000 French francs for his invention.

Morse success grows

1852 - 1859

During this time span Congress upholds Morse's telegraph patents. Morse begins receiving payments for telegraph designs used.

The Western Union Telegraph Company is formed by the unity of small telegraph companies.

The first trans-Atlantic telegraph is sent in 1858.Ten European governments award Morse a total $400,000 French francs for his invention.

Telegraph becomes essential in warfare

1861

Especially to the civil war, the telegraph becomes essential in long-distance communication.

Morse dies at 81

1872

Morse dies in New York City at the age of 81. His telegraph systems are still widely applied.