first means of communication were the acoustic signals (voice, sound
of the drums) which were propagated on small distances. Optical
signals (fire, smoke) were used for a long period. The
ancient Greeks would transmit war messages making use of fire and
smoke. Legend says that the wife of King Agamemnon, Cytemnestra,
found out about the fall of the city of Troy the very night this
event took place, although the fortress of Mycenae was at a 50 km-distance,
with the help of a fire-based transmission system. Military historian
Polybe described the water telegraph made by Eneas (336 B.C.), which
consisted in water tanks with measured rods. It was also Polybe
who presented a telegraph which used a code of flames (150 B.C.).
Romans also transmitted messages with the help of fire, fact attested
by the stone- carved images on Trajan's Column.
can be said to date back to the invention of the telescope (Galileo
Galilei, 1609) which enabled the tele-transmission of messages.
In 1690, Amontons made a telegraph with field glasses, but the most
frequent type of telegraph was the one produced by the French Claude
Chappe (1791). It was at that moment that the word telegraph was
created, being derived from the Greek elements tele = distance and
graphos = writing. Chappe’s telegraph consisted in a system
of lights with arms, messages being transmitted according to a 172
represented a real qualitative jump in the field of the means of
communication. The first attempt of using static electricity in
telegraphy was done by the Swiss George Lesage in 1774. There followed
Sömmering (1809) with the electrochemical telegraph, Silling
(1830) with the electromagnetic one. A simple, user-friendly, easily
manipulable telegraph was constructed by Samuel Brese Morse (1838)
and got soon worldwide spread. The device was using a code of lines
and dots, known as the “Morse alphabet”. The device
had an immediate impact and a wire network was arranged in the whole
In 1855, another
American, Hughes, built the teleprinter, whose main advantage was
that messages were directly transmitted with Latin characters, and
there was no need to decode them any more.
were continuously improved by the producing companies, having as
a main objective the quicker transmission of telegrams.
device would transmit about 25 words per minute, while the Hughes
telegraph around 36. In 1867, Wheastone achieved a device which
managed to transmit about 360 words per minute. A much practical
and cheaper method was the multiplex transmission which connected
lines to two to four teleprinters.
In 1851, brothers
Iacob and John Brett installed an underwater telegraphic cable crossing
the Channel and in 1858, the American Cyrus Field made an unsuccessful
attempt to install a trans-Atlantic cable. It was only in 1866 that
“Great Eastern” ship laid the cable without any incident.
In 1915, a new device was built; it did not require many adjustments
and ran at a big speed. The tele-printer also known as telex, worked
according to the START-STOP principle. The device gets started and
stopped automatically for each transmitted letter, thus eliminating
the possibility of summing up the speed deviations between gyrations,
as it happened in the case of the Hughes device. The telex was printing
on a paper tape or sheet.
the first line in Morse system was arranged in 1853 on the route
Vienna- Timisoara-Sibiu. In 1854 the telegraphic connection started
functioning on the route Bucharest-Giurgiu-Rusciuc while one year
later, the Iasi–Cernauti line was carried out. Through this
line, Iasi was connected to Vienna and Paris. The telegraphic posts
were installed by Austrian companies which provided both equipment
and specialists. From the very beginning, schools were founded in
order to train Romanian telegraph personnel. Thus, in 1855 telegraphy
schools were inaugurated both in Bucharest and Iasi and Romanian
staff was formed for serving in telegraphic offices. Between 1858-1859,
Romanian telegraphic lines were taken over by the Austrians.