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The Jubilee of the Electric Telegraph

Nature volume 36, pages 326329 | Download Citation



ON December 12, 1837, William Fothergill Cooke, on behalf of himself and Charles Wheatstone, set his hand and seal to Patent No. 7390, the subject of the specification being: “Certain apparatus or mechanism which is constructed according to our said improvements for giving signals and sounding alarums in distant places by means of electric currents transmitted through metallic circuits.” This, the first English patent dealing with the electric telegraph, contains the elements of a thoroughly practical apparatus, as the historical experiment of July 25, 1837, made between Euston and Camden Town, had proved. Unlike many other developments of practical science, the commencement of the epoch when electric telegraphy became a practical success in this country can be sharply defined, and what will become an historical event, viz. the commemoration of July 27, 1887, can strictly be said to be the true jubilee of the electric telegraph.

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