Samuel Finley Breese Morse was an American painter and inventor, most famously known for developing the electric telegraph known as the Morse Code, although this technology was developed along with his friend Alfred Vail in 1838. Born in 1791, Charlestown, Massachusetts, USA, Morse became well known as a portrait painter, but entering middle age moved into the world of technology due to his fascination with electricity. He first came to England to study art in 1811, before returning to the US four years later, but returned to Europe on numerous occasions to study art. On one of his voyages, Morse overheard a conversation on the electromagnet, and decided to pursue his idea, although this idea had been proposed many years prior. It is thought he had prepared a version of the electric telegraph by the mid 1830’s.
Alfred Vail offered space and labour to build the contraption in New Jersey, US, and by 1838 the system was up and running, and six years later the first signal was sent. Morse became well known and financially secure, but as technology evolved became obscured by newer technologies, such as the telephone and radio. A plaque hangs at 141 Cleveland St, in remembrance to Morse when he lived here between 1812-15, and testament to the invention of technology that is still used today, nearly 200 years later.
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