Printing Telegraphy... A New Era Begins

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Having been associated with the printing telegraph for more than sixty years, I have felt the urge to write a résumé of the problems and the progress made during my time toward today’s wonderful achievements in the art of telegraphic communications.

            It is interesting to note that of all the old-time electric telegraph systems, it appears that only those using the Morse dot-dash code invented in 1837 and the permutation code devised by Gauss and Weber in 1833 (now known everywhere as the Baudot code) have survived today.

            Samuel Morse’s code, which was modified somewhat in several letter code compositions to facilitate its use anywhere in the world, has become an audible, easily learned international language, loved by its users everywhere. It will no doubt continue to be used for some time to come, as long as we have our railroad telegraph operators, radio amateurs, police CW systems, certain branches of the Armed Forces, and any others who converse in dits and dahs.

            The permutation code has taken hold firmly, too. Its use of five pulses transmitted in varying combinations of on and off, or positive and negative, conditions has wide application in today’s printed communications systems. As in the Morse system, alphabets for the five-unit permutation code system have been modified as to letter code compositions for international correspondence. The permutation code uses the powers of two in progressively selecting a letter printing position.

            The binary code uses the same selective stops by yes or no designation in a system of counting by the powers of two. It is used where larger groups of yes or no positions are required, as in data processing and computer systems.

            This writing, then, is a bit of history that will put together the constructive developments that brought about the present era of the worldwide, telegraphically-transmitted printed word.

            I wish to acknowledge with great appreciation the informative material sent to me by my friends, both here and in foreign lands, who are associated with the telegraph industry.

            For assembling information we have gathered from various sources and for the most helpful assistance given me in writing this story, I also want to thank my secretary, Mrs. Doris Pompilio.

            Edward E. Kleinschmidt

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