BY ‘COMMUNICATIONS’ we really mean ‘electronic communications’, whose era began with the opening of a commercial telegraph by Cooke and Wheatstone on the Great Western Railway in London in 1839. In the USA Morse’s telegraph opened between Baltimore and Washington, a distance of 65 km, in 1844. Telegraphy grew so rapidly that by about 1860 Dickens could remark in a novel on the wires festooned about London. The practical and theoretical demands of the electric telegraph produced a remarkable number of inventions and discoveries, particularly when submarine cables of great length were laid1. William Thomson, later Lord Kelvin, was knighted in 1866 for his substantial contributions to undersea telegraphy.
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