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Sending messages: The telegraph and the convenience of modern communication

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About the document

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documents in English
term papers
5 pages
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  1. Introduction
  2. The ancient signal towers
  3. Circumstances of being contained on a 'fast ship'
  4. The Victorian Internet : An inference
  5. Ambassador Edward Thornton's efforts
  6. Analysis of Hunt's argument
  7. Victorians' enthusiasm for the telegraph
  8. A look into the financial cost of sending telegrams
  9. Conclusion
  10. References

On the night of Sunday, 14 April, 1912, at 23:40, the HMS Titanic collided with a submerged iceberg in the Atlantic Ocean four hundred miles south of the Grand Banks of Newfoundland. Within three hours, the ship would sink and be recalled as the most celebrated maritime disaster prior to the outbreak of the Great War. The peacetime sinking of the ?unsinkable? White Star Line vessel cost 1,517 people their lives, and shocked the world when wireless telegraph news reports of the disaster traveled the globe. By the time the HMS Titanic was launched from Southampton, England, telegraphic communication had developed across Western Europe and North America insofar as it was persistently used for official, commercial, and personal considerations. In fact, it was reported that the steamer Amerika sent a wireless warning at 13:45 on that fateful Sunday warning of large icebergs in the Titanic's path, but the Marconi wireless radio operators were preoccupied sending telegraphs to and from the passengers that ?non-essential? ice messages were neglected and not relayed to the bridge. How did telegraphic communication develop to attain such an impact on modern life?

History is replete with complex signals and systems used to quickly transmit information across geographical space. From the ancient signal towers, homing pigeons and post-horse relays, humankind has engineered the ability to transmit messages across distances to relay news in times of war and peace. George Washington's revolutionary forces utilized semaphore signals during the American Insurrection ?moving a barrel at the top of a mast, a flag below the barrel, and a basket on a crossarm to various positions,? and other systems were paralleled by European nations until the nineteenth century [Oslin, 1992].

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