Many of the advantages we attribute to the Internet today- predominantly ease of communication and fast information transfer- took root in the nineteenth century with the invention of the telegraph. Created by the famed Samuel F.B. Morse and professor Alfred Vail, whom nobody remembers, the effects of the telegraph were electrifying and immediate. A major breakthrough in communication, the world truly “grew smaller” for the first time. Messages from New York to London previously took 10 days by ship; with the installation of the Transatlantic Telegraph Cable, this time was cut to a few minutes. Newspapers could provide information that was up to date and relevant. The liquidation of the Pony Express two days after the Transcontinental Telegraph was installed testifies to its effectiveness. The telegraph signified the beginning of an information age, a predecessor to the Internet with similar impacts in society, both good and bad.
by Seowon Yu