Out of all of the communication devices that each express language in a unique way, certain ones stand out more than others. It is possible to go far in-depth when discussing many of these subjects, but the prevalent topic of Morse Code can be far more complicated than imagined. Invented by Samuel F. B. Morse, Joseph Henry, and Alfred Vail in 1836, Morse Code is known to be the first electric telegraph system that worked and became mostly universal.
It works by sending pulses of electricity to signal a particular machine that would then jot-down dots and dashes. So the marks could be translated, a cipher was required. Samuel Morse was the first to create a version of this code. Because he was the first, the code received its name from him. His version contained only numbers, opposed to Alfred Vail’s version that came shortly after.
Vail’s version included letters and punctuation as well as numbers. The other man, Joseph Henry, was responsible for inventing the “high-intensity magnate” in the mechanism. He received little credit once the machine had been made public.
As well as all the contributors of Morse Code, the ciphers along with the machines originated in the United States of America. Out of its many purposes and applications, three are more prominent than the others. The first main-use of Morse Code was communication between multiple people. Its use was similar to how people message each other today because telephones and greater technology had yet to be innovated. It could also be used in times of war when a leader needed to give a command to the troops while they were fighting.
The opponent would not be able to understand the information or even know that a secret message was being sent. The third and final main-use is similar to the last. Apart from war, when certain alliances wanted to send secretive information to each other, Morse Code could be used. In order to understand how Morse Code functions, one must first learn things such as making out spaces between letters or words. Units of time are used to help interpret where breaks in letters, words, or sentences are. For example, a pause between each letter can be represented as three units of time.
A longer pause that was seven units of time could represent a space between words. On top of that, one would have to understand the difference between dots and dashes. A dot is one unit of time while a dash is the same as a pause between letters, three units of time. Although dashes and pauses between letters are both 3 units of time, they cannot be confused observing that dashes generate noise while pauses between letters are silent. Each letter, number, or type of punctuation has a different arrangement of dots and dashes. This is why it is necessary to signify pauses between letters.
The most common message sent by Morse Code can be referred to as “SOS” also known as “save our ship”. Here is a small clip of what that would sound like. – (Pause for the clip) – As one can make out, the sound is very clear. The sound is also recorded instead of just the dot and dash marks. The way that each letter was determined was how frequently it was used. For example, the letter “E” is the most common in the English language and can be represented by just one dot. Morse Code proved to be truly effective and played a big role in some major conflicts. Some of these include the Civil War, allowing Nevada to “enter the union”, and the second World War.
In the Civil War, messages were sent by Morse Code in the North. This allowed for the people in the North to secretly communicate and led to them forming strategies so they could defeat the South. Nevada was able to enter the union after its constitution was sent to Washington by Morse Code.
In World War II, Morse Code was more well-known and not as secretive as it was when it had been created. The United States used it to communicate to their alliances about strategies and when they were in trouble and needed help. The code was shared with the alliances and was a major part of the Second World War.
Overall, Morse Code proved itself beneficial and advantageous. It’s not that Morse Code isn’t used anymore, it’s just that the amount of usage has and is declining. After it became familiar in more and more nations, its use as a way of secretive communication was slowly eliminated. Distress signals were now the main use. In the year of 1993, lighthouses and post guards were still looking out for “SOS” signals. Nowadays, Morse Code is known mostly worldwide, there is greater technology, it is not as secretive as it was, and it is not the most efficient. People who still use Morse Code are mainly using it as a hobby.
All of these reasons contribute to why it is not used in the same ways it used to be used in and why less and fewer people are using it.