Morse Code, the telegraph and “texting”
If you have kids with the superpower of texting faster than lightning, why not see how fast they are with this ancient form of “texting” – Morse Code. January 11th, Write your Name in Morse Code Day, is set aside to help preserve the history of Morse Code and its importance to society.
Morse Code was invented by Samuel Morse and is a series of “dots and dashes”. The dots and dashes are encoded text characters, considered the forerunner to email, text messages and other near-instant messaging used today.
Mr. Morse was not alone in his work. Two other inventors are also credited with its invention: Samuel F.B. Morse, Joseph Henry, and Alfred Vail, all worked together to produce the system we now call Morse Code. They held the first demonstration of its use with the telegraph on January 11th, the day we now celebrate as: Write Your Name in Morse Code Day.
The telegraph used Morse Code to communicate “instantly” over really long distances for the first time in human history. Before that, news took days, weeks and even months to be delivered by newspapers. With the telegraph, a message could be sent across the Atlantic ocean in minutes! Morse code is named for Samuel F. B. Morse. He was not the first to think of, or invent the telegraph, but he was the first to get political support for his idea. We celebrate him on April 24th – MORSE CODE DAY.
The electric telegraph invented by David Alter in 1836 went largely unnoticed. He is however credited with inventing the telegraph. We can only assume, communication was slow and perhaps no one got the message….. (get it ha ha no one got the message.. Ok I’ll stop.)
Samuel Morse and his associates developed what is now the Morse Telegraph just a year later. At the time, the electric telegraph transmitted text messages by electric pulses. The three inventors intended for their system (Morse Code) to be much more efficient than it became at the time. In fact, in 1841 a system was developed that would have allowed Morse Code to be translated directly into letters at the receiving end, but strangely enough, that system never caught on.
Details about Morse Code
The International Morse Code uses the 26 English letters A – Z (it also uses some non English letters like the Ñ, ñ). The 10 digits 0-9 (called the Arabic numerals) and a small set of punctuation and signals needed for procedures. This · · · − · means understood for example.
When sending or receiving Morse code there are no capital letters. The letters are formed by “dots and dashes”. The dot is the basic signal and used to measure how long a signal lasts. A dash is 3 times as long as a dot. This is how the person sending (and receiving) can tell the difference. – Remember, many times – we are LOOKING at the dots and dashes when we use Morse code for activities in our homes or classrooms.
Morse Code is a listening activity
Telegraph operators were LISTENING! Here is a video that plays the audio for each letter of the alphabet. (I have no affiliation with this video. Please preview the video before showing to your learners. I use an ad blocking extension for Chrome called Adblock. )
After each letter there is a quiet space equal to the length of a dot, then the signals for the next letter begins. At the end of the word, the space silence is equal to the length of seven dots.
The dashes and dots were designed based on frequency of use. For example, the most used letter in the English language is the letter E, it is only one dot.
Write YOUR name in Morse Code!
So today your challenge is to write your name in Morse Code. It is after all called Write Your Name in Morse Code Day!
I found an online site where you can input text and it will play it back in Morse Code:
It is a great site – although I HIGHLY RECOMMEND doing this activity with an adult as it does contain ads. My favorite thing about this site is that you can send the audio to a friend and they can translate it, just as a telegraph would send it!
Learn Your Name In Morse Code Day
Learn Your Name In Morse Code Day was created by another “Holiday Lover” Brownielocks. Brownielocks is concerned because Morse Code is no longer a requirement for the Ham Radio operators license. The possibility that Morse Code will soon become an obsolete method of communication therefore exists. Brownielocks (and Homeschool Holiday!) recognize the historical value as well as the educational importance of learning Morse Code, therefore celebrating Learn Your Name in Morse Code Day is a reason to celebrate for certain!
How to celebrate
To help spark interest in this old fashioned texting, we have prepared a FREE DOWNLOAD for members of our Curriculum Club. (Joining is FREE!)
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