Ever wondered how we have become so attached to all things technological and why it has become such an essential part of our daily lives to use these devices for communication? When looking at how we used to communicate with each other, our lives have become such that we are in need of things to happen post-haste and preferably without any faults. These days every single person in the UK use some technological device for communication, whether it is a telephone, internet, IP phones, television etc. Gone are the days of sending out a messenger on the horse to send your telegram.
Network communications have made it simpler and more efficient to provide important data across companies and between individuals who are distances apart from each other. Many people and businesses use the internet as their main point of contact. Sending emails and chatting on message chat rooms are more common than sending out a posted letter. There seem to be more people sending over faxes, emailed documents and word documents in a matter of a few seconds or minutes, rather than having to wait weeks upon weeks on receiving that delivery.
The starting point of finding where our need for network communications come from is how communication has developed with time, this being one of the most important aspects of our life. Communication is how we survive; it is the foundation of our everyday life and one that we cannot live without. Back in the days when smoke signals were the main source of sending messages or communicating, our survival instincts depended heavily on being able to communicate effectively with others. Therefore, more efficient ways of communicating, which did not entail a smoke signal from afar was needed.
Skipping a few hundred years we come to the first invention of the non-electric telegraph was invented by Claude Chappe in 1794. It worked solely from using ones line of sight, using a semaphore (a device used for visual telegraphic communication on a tower with pivoting blades) and flag based alphabets. It would not be long after that this optical telegraph was taken over by the electronic telegraph.
In 1809 the electric telegraph was built in Bavaria by a man named Samuel Soemmering, who used 35 wires in water with gold electrodes in which 2000 feet at the receiving end the message was read by the amount of gas emitted from electrolysis. This was an effective way of communicating, which was then followed on with what was going to be the revolution of the telegraph - electromagnetic. The British inventor William Sturgeon put up a display of electromagnetic in 1825 picking up nine pounds using a seven ounce iron wrapped in a wire that was powered by a single cell battery.
It would the invention of electromagnets that would change the way telegraphs worked. American inventor Joseph Henry then demonstrated that you could use electromagnetic to communicate over long distances, through sending electronic currents over a mile of wiring and then resulting in it activating an electromagnet that would make a bell ring at the receiving end. Samuel Morse would then follow on create a better invention using the electromagnetic communication idea and proving that signals can travel through wires.
This prompted a marker to move and write the written code on a piece of paper - thus inventing the Morse code. This became the most successful form of communication used by the army and government. It was later modified so that the markers would emboss the paper with dots and dashes. This was not used until 1838 in which the government put more funding into an experimental telegraph line from Washington to Baltimore - stretching 40 miles.
A further six years would pass and the government witnessed some of the first messages sent by Morse code - the words 'What Hath God Wrought' was one of the first messages on paper via the embossed dots and dashes method. The success of the Morse telegraph spread the world of telegraph across the globe. It would be in 1891 that the Postal Telegraph system would be put into place and then later merging with Western Union.
In the year of 1877 the telephone rivalled with the telegraph, in which the former was favoured more for the fact that it be heard by the human ear and was much quicker. However, the electronic telegraph was successful in striking the idea of sending message on paper - this would span out to influence the way computers and the internet worked. The first email ever to be sent was not until the 1970's, which was privately by government officials. Commercial emailing was not introduced until 1989 which changed the face of communication. With it came online messaging and VOIP communications.
Anna Stenning is an expert on network communications and its history having researched this field in the past.