April 2, 2022 is the 150th Anniversary of the death of Samuel Morse. The inventor of the Morse code and contributor to modernizing telegraphy.

We don’t give much attention to the telegraph now. But back in the day it took weeks to deliver and get a reply answer from a letter sent across the USA. Or it would take months if you were talking about letter going to and from England or Europe.

Samuel Finley Breese Morse, (4.27.1791 – 4.2.1872), was an American artist and inventor who helped develop the telegraph and Morse Code. April 2, 2022 is the 150th Anniversary of his death.

Within the Daniel D. Teoli Jr. Archival Collection, I have a collection of Telegraphy related material. I’m not going over the history of the telegraph or how it worked. You can research that on your own. But I will share some of the images I have in the collection in honor and remembrance of Samuel F.B. Morse.

Telegraph messenger boy

Even though messages could be sent fast, many businesses economized with shortening ‘the code’ by using their own telegraphy code. Now one word in Morse code, could become 7 or 8 words.

The telegraph was pretty simple. You had a key and a sounder / resonator connected by wires held on a wooden pole with glass insulators.

To protect the wires running on the telegraph poles, the wires ran around a glass insulator.

The sounder / resonator was a triangular box usually placed around ear level, as shown below. It concentrated the sound to one’s ear so the Morse code could be translated.

The telegraph messenger was an important part of the process. A telegram would come in, get typed out, glued up and then handed off to the delivery boy (later gal) for delivery.


Here is the ‘paste up’ gal! One gal typed the text strips, the next gal glued them up.


Over time, the pasted-up strips became a letter, and the telegram delivery boy / gal was replaced by the US Postal Service partnering with Western Union.

And within large businesses, a vacuum tube delivery system might deliver the telegrams.


In its day, the telegraphy was revolutionary. It connected the world in minutes. You could even be out in the field and communicate. All you needed was a wire and a battery to connect to the nearest telegraph pole.


Illustrations from L.O.C., Getty Museum, Daniel D. Teoli Jr. Archival Collection, eBay and the Internet. Used under the auspices of Fair Use.


Daniel D. Teoli Jr. Archival Collection
Daniel D. Teoli Jr. Small Gauge Film Archive
Daniel D. Teoli Jr. Advertising Archive
Daniel D. Teoli Jr. VHS Video Archive
Daniel D. Teoli Jr. Audio Archive
Daniel D. Teoli Jr. Social Documentary Photography

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