Today we celebrate the birthday of Samuel Morse. He was born today – April 27, 1791!
Samuel Morse is credited with inventing Morse Code (of course!) and he is also often associated with the invention of the Telegraph. It’s had to pinpoint exactly who the “FIRST” is with any invention. Someone has almost certanly thought up part of it before. Combigning ideas makes for a great invention. It’s no different with the Telegraph. Without a doubt, Morse laid down the first line of electric telegraph from Washington to Baltimore.
Did you Write your Name in Morse Code with us on January 11th? If so you already have some practice with Morse Code! That’s actually why there are 2 days to celebrate. January 11th marks the Anniversary of the first public demonstration of the electric telegraph. The Inventors of this holiday thought it would be a great way to introduce Morse Code in a fun, easy way.
April 27 as was mentioned earlier is the Birthday of Samuel Morse, and that is why we celebrate Morse Code again today.
Did you know, When Samuel Morse originally invented Morse Code in the 1830’s for use in telegraphy, it only represented numbers! The Alphabet was added rather quickly, but that also created some issues. It was quickly determined that changes were needed, as Morse Code was unable to deal with many of the characters in other languages. This led to the creation of International Morse Code in 1851. We still use this Code today.
Morse Code is actually quite versatile. Just tap your pencil on the table in front of you and you can send a signal! You can even use 2 flashlights to send signals in the dark if the electricity goes out.
Morse Code was used extensively during World War II, in the Vietnam and Korean wars, and remained the standard format for ocean communication until it was replaced in 1999 by the Global Maritime Distress Safety System.
Morse Code is still used today, however it’s use is not widespread at all. Many amateur radio enthusiasts learn Morse Code, although it is not required. It is used the most in the fields of Aviation and Aeronautics due to the fact their radio navigational aids still identify Morse Code. The US Navy and Coast Guard still use signal lamps to communicate via Morse Code.
Morse Code is also used by people in whom their communication abilities are impaired by stroke, heart attack or even paralysis. Individuals can use their eye lids for example to blink in dots and dashes.
Visit the Natural History Museum to see what is believed to be an telegraph key from the original Baltimore-Washington Telegraph line: https://americanhistory.si.edu/collections/search/object/nmah_1096762
If you search the museum you will fall down a rabbit hole of fantastic images related to Samuel Morse and the Telegraph!
If you would like some easy activities for today you can use the Morse Code printables from Our Curriculum Club!
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- Write a secret message for your friend using Morse Code. Using graph paper helps keep everything neat. Use one square for a dot, and 3 squares for a dash.
2. Samuel Morse was also a painter. Research this and re-create one of his paintings.
3. Create a spelling list for a younger sibling using Morse Code
4. Create a presentation about the most interesting invention Samuel Morse invented (WAS it the telegraph?)
Be sure to let us know how you celebrate Morse Code day in the comments section!
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