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A Momentary Flow

Evolving Worldviews

How Napoleon’s semaphore telegraph changed the world
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Napoleonic semaphore was the world’s first telegraph network, carrying messages across 19h-Century France faster than ever before. Now a group of enthusiastic amateurs are reviving the ingenious system. Before the web, before the computer, before the phone, even before Morse code, there was le systeme Chappe. Not for the first time or for the last, at the end of the 18th Century France made an important technological advance - only to see it overtaken by newer science. In this case, it was the world’s first ever system of telegraphy. According to most accounts, the very word “telegraph” - distance writing, in Greek - was coined to describe Claude Chappe’s nationwide network of semaphore. At its most extensive, it comprised 534 stations covering more than 5,000km (3,106 miles). Messages sent from Paris could reach the outer fringes of the country in a matter of three or four hours. Before, it had taken despatch riders on horseback a similar number of days. (via BBC News - How Napoleon’s semaphore telegraph changed the world)

How Napoleon’s semaphore telegraph changed the world

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Napoleonic semaphore was the world’s first telegraph network, carrying messages across 19h-Century France faster than ever before. Now a group of enthusiastic amateurs are reviving the ingenious system. Before the web, before the computer, before the phone, even before Morse code, there was le systeme Chappe. Not for the first time or for the last, at the end of the 18th Century France made an important technological advance - only to see it overtaken by newer science. In this case, it was the world’s first ever system of telegraphy. According to most accounts, the very word “telegraph” - distance writing, in Greek - was coined to describe Claude Chappe’s nationwide network of semaphore. At its most extensive, it comprised 534 stations covering more than 5,000km (3,106 miles). Messages sent from Paris could reach the outer fringes of the country in a matter of three or four hours. Before, it had taken despatch riders on horseback a similar number of days. (via BBC News - How Napoleon’s semaphore telegraph changed the world)

Notes

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    It was a fascinating read in a chapter of James Gleick’s ‘The Information.’ The chapter, however was building up to the...
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