May 24 - 1844 - Samuel Morse's "What Hath God Wrought" Telegraph

When Samuel Morse sent a message from Washington, DC to Baltimore along his telegraph line, this was not the first telegraph sent in America. It wasn't even the first telegraph that used the system developed by Morse and Alfred Vail. It was the first telegraph on a newly inaugurated long distance line, which is why Morse felt it was important enough to inaugurate with the Biblical quote "What hath God wrought." Morse was a painter by trade who became interested in instant communication when his wife died in 1825, and he got little notice. The genius of Morse's system was its simplicity, especially as compared to other telegraphic systems, as he used one current that would have pulses sent along it in a simplified code. Morse also was able to develop a system of relays that boosted the system across distances, making the telegraph something that could have widespread use. Morse's invention became the telegraphy system used in America and most of Europe, excluding Britain. Morse's own personal issues would come to the fore, despite his success, as he sought to protect his patent. Still, he inaugurated a communications revolution.

William Floyd