Communication Technology from the Past, the Present, and the Future! – HollyCurtis Paper1-3


This paper will discuss the history of communication, from letter writing to the invention of the telegraph. This paper will also give a brief history on the inventors of the telegraph and how the telegraph paved the way for many forms of communications. The invention of the telegraph allowed messages to be sent faster and further by translating messages through cable lines. The creation of the telegraph in the 1800s brought about generational change in communication. The invention of the telegraph, lead to the creation of many other forms of communication such as radio, emails, and television.

Communication in the Past:

Communication has always been a part of American culture; it has been the most crucial part of people’s social life. Over time, the means of communication has changed according to the times, people’s living situations and advancements in technology. In the past, people used smoke signals as a form of communication; however, smoke signals could only send a few simple messages. As America changed and the population grow people needed to send longer messages as well as sending them further in distance. Therefore, people replaced smoke signals for letter writing. People wrote letters to communicate with friends and family separated by distance because it was the only way to communicate long distance, at least until the invention of the telegraph in the 19th century. The telegraph was invented by a man named Samuel Morse, hence “Morse Code.”

Samuel Morse was an artist and inventor, he developed the first successful electromagnetic telegraph system. He studied both art and electricity at Yale College, after graduation he pursued a career in art. Samuel traveled to England to continue studying art, on his voyage he overheard two men talking about electromagnets. One of those men was Charles Jackson who also studied electricity he told Morse that electric impulse could be carried through long wires.

In the late 1700′s and early 1800′s the first telegraph was invented. The telegraph system was a form of communication that transmitted electric signals over wires from different locations to translate messages. The first telegraph was invented by Claude Chappe in 1794, this telegraph was not electric, it was a “semaphores, or tall poles with movable arms, and other signaling apparatus, set within physical sight of one another.” Many others tried to reinvent and improve the way telegraphs worked. However, Samuel Morse was the only one who perfected it. Morse took the significance of those facts found by previous inventors and invented a more practical and commercial system.

Morse laid out three major parts of the telegraph the sender, the receiver and the code. The sender opened and closed the electric circuit, the receiver used, the electromagnet to record the signal, and the code translated the signals into letters and numbers. In 1836, Samuel Morse built the first telegraph system from Washington to Baltimore using cable lines across the Atlantic Ocean. He used “a set of signals that could represent language in telegraph messages” also known as “Morse Code.”

Within a decade, more than 20 thousand miles of telegraph cables had crossed the country. The telegraph made it possible for other forms of rapid communication. The telegraph truly changed the world because before telegraphs, the country was very isolated from other regions of the world. Most of the world had a limited amount of knowledge of national and international news. “By the end of the 1870s, the United States was connected to a global telecommunications network that allowed for relatively low-cost, communication.” The telegraph was truly influential in the growth of communication.

Communication in the Present:

The telegraph was the first major milestone in the development of communication technology because it led to many of the things we use today and its similar to techniques we use today.  Expansion in this past technology has made it possible for many of the things we use today, such as telephones, radio, cable television, Internet, and mobile phones.

It was not long after the telegraph became a success before the next progression in technology came along, the telephone. The telephone was used to transmit speech electronically. Like the telegraph, the telephone was a also wire-based electrical system. The telephone used the same cables that made the telegraph a success. Unfortunately, it failed because under-water cables did not have a strong enough signal.

However, there is one company that used the same technique but change the type of cables used, that company was AT&T. These cables were made up of “several dozen steel wires, covered by copper tubes, plastic jackets and armor,” allowing signals to go through and be transmitted.

This improvement in technology amplified the signals being transmitted and led to the telephone system started in homes across the world, a pair of copper wires cables connecting from poles to be transmitted into homes. Started by AT&T, which is still one of the most powerful communication businesses around today. The technique that AT&T discovered also helped develop cable television and helped launch the startup of cell phones.

Today in the United States cable companies deliver cable to over 60 million homes. Like telephone companies, cable companies also use very long cables to connect to television sets. Cable companies use antenna amplifiers as a regular interval to boost signals to make channels viewable. It was not long ago that this method changed and cable companies switched from  using antenna amplifiers to using  digital boxes. This allowed a better picture quality and less distortion.

However, another company has definitely introduced many households to the future, fiber optics cable. Verizon has a new way of watching television and it’s called, fiber optics.  Fiber optics networks carry laser light information signals, which moves as fast as the speed of light. It uses “hundreds of hair-like strands of glass to send pulses of light to carry data.” This allows data to be processed faster to your home televisions and computer. In today’s society people want any and everything faster and with better quality.

Another major advancement in technology that most of America has benefited from is the cell phone. Cell phones have evolved immensely since 1983, both in design and function. This envolvement brought a whole new meaning to the term multitasking. Cell phones today can do any and everything from sending text messages, to emails, to uploading video and picture, and most importantly downloading applications for everything.

Whether it is a smart phone or android phone people want it to operate at a faster pace, because communication in today’s society plays a major role in the public and private sphere. Nowadays communication globally is at the tip of your fingers, literally. There are a lot of different forms of technology that has made this possible from Ipads, to Kindles, to the blackberry playbooks and many more. Tablets, and wireless Internet has allowed many countries to communicate instantaneously with the use of emails, text messaging, instant messages, and video chat. Modern day technology keeps communication constant; it allows people to express themselves with a click of a button.

Technology in the Future:

However, the advancement in technology like the Internet, computers and tablets has changed the dynamics of the print industry tremendously. Newspaper, Magazine, and Book circulation is at its lowest, the print industry is expected to lose 25% of its jobs over the next few years. The print industry is drastically declining because the Internet has and continues to shape the way we communicate. The future of print is not very bright, in my opinion I do not believe that print will be a part of the future because there will be no need for anything printed. While the print industry is suffering it is predicted that applications like eBook, iBook, and audiobook are expected to increase vastly. In a few years newspapers, books, and advertisements will all be created and made only for online.

Therefore, future technology should be more compatible with people’s needs; tablets should be Nano sized, lite and slick, interactive, and portable. Users should be able to explore endless possibilities from writing word documents to creating and designing websites. Future tablets should be able to bend, fold, and roll while giving the user the experience of reading a book or a magazine.  Prospective tablets should allow users to browse the web, take pictures, upload, and watch videos. Upcoming tablets should not take away people interacting with each other but it should enhance people’s interaction globally. Upcoming tables should translate different languages making it easy for users to communicate internationally.

The future holds a lot of promise for auto voice translating and interpretting, which will remove any language barriers. The future progression in technology will change the dynamics of communication all across the world, in the classroom, the workplace and in the public sphere. It is unknow what the future may hold for the advancement communication technology, but it is not far-fetched to say that we may one day be able to send emails with our own thoughts or brainwaves where ever we are.


One comment

  1. Castro · February 26, 2013

    this was so helpful

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