- "I once sent a dozen of my friends a telegram saying "flee at once-all is discovered!" They all left town immediately."
– Mark Twain
The invention of the Telegraph greatly expedites long-distance communication and allows for advancements in military and naval technology. It also enables the construction of the Cristo Redentor wonder.
The electric telegraph is the first mechanical device capable of transmitting information rapidly over distances greater than the eye can see. Before the telegraph, the fastest way to pass information between Europe and North America was by clipper ship, which could make the voyage in perhaps 10-20 days, depending upon the weather. After the transatlantic telegraph was introduced, that same information could be transmitted in minutes.
The telegraph required a series of important inventions before it could be implemented. In 1800 Alessandro Volta invented the voltaic cell; in 1820 Hans Christian Orsted of Denmark discovered that a magnetic needle could be deflected by wire carrying electric current; and in 1831 Faraday of Britain and Henry of the US refined the science of electromagnetism sufficiently enough to allow the creation of electromagnetic devices.
In 1837, American Samuel Morse was granted a patent on an electronic telegraph, while at the same time William Cooke and Charles Wheatstone of Great Britain obtained a British patent on a different telegraph system. By 1844 Morse had a wire strung along the railroad lines between Washington, DC and Baltimore, Maryland. The first message sent was "What hath God Wrought!" Within a few years telegraph lines were strung along most British and American railroads, and they rapidly spread across the entire world. In the 1860s the first transatlantic cables were laid.
The telegraph remained the primary means of long-distance communication for almost a century, until it was replaced by various new inventions including the telephone and radio. During its existence it brought the world together in a way that had never been seen before in the history of mankind. It is arguable that no invention since - including the Internet - has had such an important effect upon human civilization.