The Developing of the Internet and its Origins in the Electric Telegraph

Though the geographic is not ubiquitous today, it in many respects is a technology that was before the Internet. The world-wide web is developed on technology of electrical “packet switching” that allows bits of information to travel across nodes (Standage, 1998). The telegraph, on the other hand, though not able to travel in the same manner as the Internet, similarly uses bits of information from one source to another using the speech of electricity to pass this information between nodes. The telegraph was invested and perfected in the 1830s and 1840s by Samuel Morse, who developed a code for sending information over long distances using wire laid between stations (Kieve, 1973). This code was instrumental to using electricity to transfer information, a key factor of which the Internet was also based upon. The technology uses an optical semaphore to send communications between sources and also immediately created widespread social and economic impacts as commercial interests and governments began to use the technology frequently. The telegraph worked in a way that used a code to relay messages without telephones.

It allowed for senders and receivers to process raw electrical information through stations that were sometimes very far apart. The technology became relevant for commercial production and appealed to both governments and commercial interests, though it eventually became relevant and the underlying framework for which forms of packet switching eventually also became the basis to the early Internet (Morus, 2000). With the invention of the telegraph in the early 1840s, the world for the first time experienced what a truly free form of electrical communication could look like.

Work Cited

Kieve, J. L. (1973). The electric telegraph: A social and economic history. David and Charles.

Morus, I. R. (2000). ‘The nervous system of Britain’: space, time and the electric telegraph in the

Victorian age. The British journal for the history of science, 33(04), 455–475.

Standage, T. (1998). The Victorian Internet: The remarkable story of the telegraph and the

nineteenth century’s on-line pioneers. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson.


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