Telegraph to the Phonograph: 1836 – 1877


Nicholas Callan invented the transformer in Ireland.


English scientist Edward Davy invented the electric relay.


Joseph Henry publishes his experimental results showing the oscillatory nature of the discharge in Leyden jars. He describes how a generated spark could magnetize a needle surrounded by a coil up to 220 feet away. He also explains how a lightning strike 8 miles away magnetized a needle surrounded by a coil, an effect that was most probably caused by radio waves. He considered both of these effects to be due to electromagnetic induction at the time.

May 26, 1844

Samuel Morse dispatched the first telegraphic message over a line from Washington, D.C. to Baltimore on May 24, 1844. The now-famous message was: “What hath God wrought.”


Royal Earl House patented a printing telegraph that used 28 piano-style keys to represent each letter of the alphabet and make it easier for everyone to send messages.


British Mathematician George Boole developed binary algebra (Boolean algebra), which has been widely used in binary computer design and operation, beginning about a century later.


Western Union was founded in 1851.


The first Tabulating Machine was bought by the Dudley Observatory in Albany, New York, and the second was ordered in 1857 by the British government. The Albany machine was used to produce a set of astronomical tables. Still, the Observatory’s director was fired for this extravagant purchase, and the machine never seriously used again, eventually ending up in a museum.


First electrically powered lighthouse in England.


The phonograph was patented on March 25, 1857, by Frenchman Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville. The device was capable of transcribing sound to a medium.


The first transatlantic cable was laid across the floor of the Atlantic from Telegraph Field, Foilhommerum Bay, Valentia Island in western Ireland to Heart’s Content in eastern Newfoundland. The first communications occurred on August 16, 1858, reducing the communication time between North America and Europe from ten days—the time it took to deliver a message by ship—to a matter of minutes. Transatlantic telegraph cables have been replaced by transatlantic telecommunications cables.

The first transatlantic cable. Public Domain


The OpenVMS Epoch Time is set to start on November 17, 1858.


German scientist Johann Philipp Reis invented an early Microphone.


James Clerk Maxwell predicts the existence of electromagnetic waves in his paper ‘a dynamical theory of the electromagnetic field.’


The typewriter, which can be considered a precursor to printers and keyboards, was invented by Christopher Sholes.


Elisha Gray and Enos and N. Barton form Western Electric Manufacturing Company.


Mitsubishi is founded.


Toshiba is founded.

The company American Telephone and Telegraph Company founded.

March 7, 1876

Alexander Graham Bell patents the Telephone and makes his first call on March 10.


November 21, 1877 – American inventor Thomas Alva Edison invented the phonograph

German industrialist Werner Von Siemens developed the first loudspeaker.

The world’s first long-distance telephone line is connected between French Corral California with French Lake, 58 miles away.