Telegraph, Telephone and Computer Networks
In 1835, Samuel F. B. Morse constructs a rudimentary telegraph that had a range of 40 feet. Its power came from a battery located nearby. He improved it in the next 2 years so that it's range was increased to 10 miles. Asimov 350
In 1840, Morse improves his invention by adding electric relays powered by banks of batteries along the telegraph route. When the electric signal produced by the telegraph key weakened along the route, it activated another key and another circuit that provided additional power from a nearby bank of batteries. In this way, information could be communicated any distance. Eventually, the telegraph linked people throughout the country. Asimov 350
In 1856, Ezra Cornell forms the Western Union Telegraph Co. that in 10 years laid 75,000 miles in telegraph lines. They were essential to railroads because they allowed operational order to be sent ahead of train movements. Carruth 251
By this time, the telegraph extended from the eastern seaboard through St. Joseph, MO, on the Missouri River. Mail was extremely slow from this point westward across the vast Great Plains, and people complained often and bitterly over its tardiness. However, starting on April 3, 1860, the Pony Express ran through parts of Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, and California. On an average day, a rider covered 75 to 100 miles. He changed horses at relay stations, set about 10 or 15 miles apart, transferring himself and his mochila (a saddle cover with four pockets or cantinas for mail) to the new mount, all in one leap. The first mail by Pony Express via the central route from St. Joseph to Sacramento took 10 1/2 days, cutting the Overland Stage time via the southern route by more than half. The fastest delivery was in March 1861, when President Abraham Lincoln's inaugural address was carried in 7 days and 17 hours. From April 1860 through June 1861, the Pony Express operated as a private enterprise. From July 1, 1861, it operated under contract as a mail route until October 24, 1861, when the transcontinental telegraph line was completed, and the Pony Express became history and a legend. USPS n.d.
In 1866, the first successful transatlantic telegraph cable was laid by the British steamship, Great Eastern, designed by Isambard Brunel. This began communication between eastern and western hemispheres. Eventually, people all over the world were able to communicate electrically with each other. Asimov 349
On March 7, 1875, Alexander Graham Bell receives a patent for the telephone. It functions on March 10, powered by batteries. He started his company in the following year. Schles 330
In 1877, the first telephone switchboard begins operation in a burglar alarm office in Boston. The next year, the first regular exchange began operations in New Haven, CT, with 8 lines for 21 telephones. Carruth 321,325
The first intercity telephone system was made between Boston and Lowell, MA, in 1879. Carruth 325
Telephone service began between New York City and Chicago in 1883. The service was extended form New York City to Boston in 1884. Carruth 337,339
The first transatlantic telephone service opens between New York City and London in 1927. Carruth 467
In 1960, the first communications satellite, Echo 1, was orbited at 1000 miles from the earth's surface. It was passive, i.e., it had no electronics, meaning that it reflected signals received from earth back to it. Also, its orbit time was 2 hours, which requires tracking antennas to move to receive the signal. How 574
In 1962, the second passive communications satellite, Echo 2, was orbited. How 574
Later, active satellites were orbited. They have repeaters (boosters) that amplify the signals received from earth and retransmit them to earth. Also, they orbit at 23,000 miles above the earth with a period of 23 hours and 56 minutes, so that they remain in one position relative to the earth and can be tracked easily with receiving antennas. Such satellites are called geostationary or synchronous. The increases height means that there is a 0.5 second delay for the signal round trip.
In 1969, the ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network) is commissioned by DoD for research into networking. Bolt Beranek and Newman, Inc. (BBN) provides the nodal Interface Message Processors (IMPs), which are Honeywell DDP-516 mini-computers with 12K memory. AT&T provides the 50kbps lines among the nodes. Four nodes are established at UCLA, Stanford Research Institute (SRI), U. of CA at Santa Barbara (UCSB), and U. of Utah. The number of nodes (participants) will be extended greatly in the coming years. Zakon n.p.Zakon n.p.
An internet user interface (named at CERN, Conseil Européenne pour la Recherche Nucleaire, the world wide web or www) was completed in late 1989. The interface was used on a minor network in March 1991. In May 1991, the www using the HTML language and HTTP protocol was fully operational on the multiplatform computer network at the CERN laboratories in Switzerland. Gribble n.p.