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Crimean War

Men saw the possibility of using electricity to carry signals by the mid-18th Century. Electric batteries were invented in 1800. However, it was not until after 1819 when electro-magnets were invented that messages could be sent over more than a few metres. This system was adopted by the new railway companies who were able to send messages between signal boxes using telegraph lines beside the track.

In 1838 Samuel Morse created a code which allowed complex messages to be conveyed over long distances.

The Crimean War of 1855 saw the first use of the electric telegraph in a war environment. An example of the single needle electric telegraph can be seen in the Crimean War display in the Museum.

Single Needle


The Single Needle Telegraph

The needle in the center of the 'clock' face was switched by reversingthe current to represent either a dot or dash of the Morse code.

It was during the Crimean War that the first telegraph wagons and cable carts were used. The Cable Wagon on display in the Museum is the last one known to be surviving. Lieutenant Stopford RE and 25 Sappers were provided with 2 telegraph wagons a cable cart and a plough, together with 24 miles of copper wire and were required to set up a communications system.

Crimean War Preserved Cable Lay's

By the end of the war 21 miles of cable were laid which connected 8 telegraph offices on a circuit and a 340 mile submarine cable was laid from Varna to Balaclava. A small part of the 1,852 nautical mile length Atlantic cable which was laid in 1865 still remains and is preserved in the Museum.


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