Today in History: First around-the-world telegram sent

This Day in History: 08/20/1911 - Around-the-World Telegram

Before technologies such as online instant messaging, SMS and emails, which made communication an extremely immediate process across the globe, there was the telegram, and it was not nearly as fast as the tools we use today.

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On this day in 1911 the first telegram was sent around the world via a commercial service from the New York Times' office to test how fast a message could travel through a dedicated cable. According to the content of the message was simply "This message sent around the world" and it was sent from the newspaper's office in NY at 7 p.m. on August 20. The telegram started traveling and was relayed by 16 operators across the globe and circled back to its origin in 16.5 minutes.

See the gallery below showing the evolution of communication technology:

History of Communication
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Today in History: First around-the-world telegram sent
UNITED KINGDOM - SEPTEMBER 04: Engraving by Laplante after Bonnafoux. British physicist David Edward Hughes (1831-1900) invented this successful telegraph in 1855. It was the first telegraph system which printed the text at the sending and receiving ends, abolishing the need for a special alphabetic code. It employs synchronised type-wheels at each end of the line. Pressing the keys raises pins opposite the required letters. When a pin makes contact, a hammer pushes the paper against the type-wheel and prints the corresponding letter. An experienced operator could send messages of up to 30 words a minute. The system was mainly used on cable routes from Britain to Europe. Illustration from �Electricity and Magnetism� by Amedee Guillemin (1826-1893), published in London in 1891. (Photo by SSPL/Getty Images)
30th June 1933: Post Office telephone engineers at work fixing telegraph wires to the insulators on a replacement telegraph pole near Staines in Middlesex. (Photo by William Vanderson/Fox Photos/Getty Images)
The original Morse telegraph receiver on which 'What Hath God Wrought?' (received on May 24, 1844), Washington DC, November 21, 1936. (Photo by Underwood Archives/Getty Images)
Western Union Telegraph Company switchboard operators in Detroit, Michigan, USA, 1938. (Photo by Vintage Images/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 01: Telegraph In New York On September 1948 (Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)

Dial-up connection

(Photo: Christiaan_008/Flickr)


(Photo: Getty Images)


(Photo: Getty Images)


(Photo: Shutterstock)


(Photo: Shutterstock)


We've gone a long way from the very first forms of communication and a number of milestones mark this wonderful path of technological evolution. We went through achievements such as the invention of paper, Gutenberg's printing press in 1450, the Morse code in 1835, Graham Bell's telephone in 1879, Marconi's radio in 1901, television in 1925, cellphones and satellite communications, emails, the Internet, all the way to the most current social media channels such as YouTube, Twitter and Facebook, and the iPhone.

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