before amateur radio: amateur telegraph

telegraph line

It’s easy to see how ready the public was for amateur radio when it came.  There were little amateur telegraph organizations all over the country at the turn of the century.  Every state probably had several, speculated the New York Evening Post.  No statistics about these unregulated outfits appear to have existed.  Cranford, New Jersey, had two by itself in 1892, which were proposing to consolidate, which would mean 30 stations on a 3.5-mile circuit.  What were these two for?  Their executive committees set them up with fire, burglar, and general emergency codes; otherwise they were for news and business.  Would they not be useful where phone lines had not yet stretched?  The Electrical Review imagined private telegraphs ‘would go far to overcome the monotony and isolation of farm life, and to offset the drawbacks of bad roads.’

‘Amateur Telegraphers,’ Electrical Review, August 6, 1892, p. 308.

photo credit:  The Atlantic (click to follow link)


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