Inventions of the Early 19th Century


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        ACTUAL TOPIC:  Inventions of the early nineteenth century.
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         INVENTIONS OF THE EARLY NINETEENTH CENTURY

   The art of inventing has been around since remedies have been needed
and solutions have been required to make our lives easier and more
enjoyable.  From the time our forefathers colonized the shores of a new
land, up till the time of the modern day super-conductor: people have
created devices and made discoveries on our behalf to make life easier for
everyone.

   Before the early nineteenth century communications were inadequate.
The limitations of our hearing meant that distant events were known long
after they had occurred. Systems of communication existed which were
quicker then the speed of a messenger - smoke signals, fires lit on hills,
signalling flags. But these methods could only be used for communicating in
code with pre-established sayings rather than out-right communication.
These methods also required certain meteorological or geographical
conditions in order to function properly.

   In the nineteenth century conditions were present that made the need
for new forms of communications indispensable. Industrial society needed a
method of communicating information quickly, safely and accurately.
Artist-inventor Samuel F.B. Morse holds credit for devising American's
first commercially successful electromagnetic telegraph (patented in
January 1836).  The telegraph was a device used to electrically send
signals over a wire for long distances allowing an established
communication link to be made from one city to another. (And everything
in-between.)  The basic principle of the telegraph was the opening and
closing of an electrical circuit supplied by a battery: the variations of
the current in the electromagnet would attract or repel a small arm
connected to a pencil which would trace zigzag signs onto a strip of paper
running under the arm at a constant speed.  This early plan didn't offer
great practical possibilities, mainly because the batteries then available
could not produce a current strong enough to push the signal great
distances.

   As an artist and sculptor, Morse had the personal qualities to succeed
as inventor of the telegraph: intelligence, persistence, and a willingness
to learn. What he lacked was: knowledge of recent scientific developments,
adequate funds, mechanical ability, and political influence. Like all
successful inventors of the nineteenth century, Morse exploited his
strengths and worked on his weaknesses.

   Morse used Professor Leonard D. Gale's suggestions of improving both
his battery and electromagnet by following the suggestions of Joseph Henry.
Together they incorporated Henry's suggestions and stepped up the distance
they could send messages from fifty feet to ten miles. This invention, no
less important than the telegraph itself, was the so- called relay system,
widely used today for automatic controls and adjustments. Morse introduced
a series of electromagnets along the line, each of which opened and shut
the switch of a successive electric circuit, supplied by it's own battery.
At the same time Morse improved the transmitting and receiving devices and
perfected the well-know signalling system based on dots and dashes, which
is still in use today.

   The first telegraph line, connecting Baltimore to New York, was
inaugurated in 1844. Before this however, on May 24th, 1843 wires were
strung between Washington and Baltimore where Morse sent the first message
from the Supreme Court room in Washington to Alfred Vail, Morse's assistant
who was in Baltimore at a railroad depot (41 miles away): "What hath God
wrought?"

   On May 29th, 1844 word flashed by wire from the democratic convention
in Baltimore that James K. Polk had been nominated for the Presidency.
People were fascinated by the "Magic key" and it was decided that the
telegraph would be used for now to report congressional doings.

   By 1848 every state east of the Mississippi except Florida was served
be the