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Power StrugglesScientific Authority and the Creation of Practical Electricity Before Edison$
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Michael Brian Schiffer

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780262195829

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262195829.001.0001

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“What Hath God Wrought!”

“What Hath God Wrought!”

(p.137) 12 “What Hath God Wrought!”
Power Struggles

Michael Brian Schiffer

The MIT Press

This chapter deals with all the challenges faced by Samuel Morse in making a functional and commercially viable telegraph system. Morse returned to America, where he was successful in getting the recommendation of Joseph Henry for laying the foundations of his electromagnetic telegraph, and finally, on February 23, 1843, a bill was passed in favor of Morse’s setting up of the telegraph system. Initially, Morse set up a system where copper wires, insulated in lead pipes, would be laid underground for the passage of electromagnetic messages; however, this setup did not function well during winter, when the ground froze with ice, and due to the leakage of the lead pipes. Finally, Ezra Cornell devised a new setup whereby copper wires would be strung on poles over long distances. This setup was more economical, durable, and widely accepted.

Keywords:   Samuel Morse, electromagnetic message, Ezra Cornell, telegraph system, Joseph Henry, electromagnetic message

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