The American Electro Magnetic Telegraph : with the Reports of Congress, and a Description of All Telegraphs Known, employing electricity or galvanism. Illustrated by Eight-one Wood Engravings. Alfred Vail.
The American Electro Magnetic Telegraph : with the Reports of Congress, and a Description of All Telegraphs Known, employing electricity or galvanism. Illustrated by Eight-one Wood Engravings
The American Electro Magnetic Telegraph : with the Reports of Congress, and a Description of All Telegraphs Known, employing electricity or galvanism. Illustrated by Eight-one Wood Engravings
The American Electro Magnetic Telegraph : with the Reports of Congress, and a Description of All Telegraphs Known, employing electricity or galvanism. Illustrated by Eight-one Wood Engravings
The American Electro Magnetic Telegraph : with the Reports of Congress, and a Description of All Telegraphs Known, employing electricity or galvanism. Illustrated by Eight-one Wood Engravings
The American Electro Magnetic Telegraph : with the Reports of Congress, and a Description of All Telegraphs Known, employing electricity or galvanism. Illustrated by Eight-one Wood Engravings
The American Electro Magnetic Telegraph : with the Reports of Congress, and a Description of All Telegraphs Known, employing electricity or galvanism. Illustrated by Eight-one Wood Engravings

The American Electro Magnetic Telegraph : with the Reports of Congress, and a Description of All Telegraphs Known, employing electricity or galvanism. Illustrated by Eight-one Wood Engravings

Philadelphia: Lea & Blanchard 1845. First Edition. viii, [9]-208 pages. 8vo. Rebacked with new leather spine and corners preserving marbled boards. Initials on second flyleaf. Upper right corner of title page was previously missing, now replaced with 'e' of "The" and the 'N' of "AMERICAN" words inked in. Ex-libris The Caldwell Collection at the Library of Knox College (properly de-accessioned), with the bookplate of Edward and Lucy Morse Caldwell on the front pastedown endpaper. Inked and penciled notations underneath the specimen of the new Telegraphic Language on pages 28 and 29, otherwise clean internally. Very Good. Boards. [24121]


Perhaps the most important book documenting the earliest history of telegraphy.

Published in 1845 by Vail after the successful test of a congressionally approved experimental telegraph line from Baltimore to Washington DC in response to repeated requests for information. "Apparently the first American book devoted to the electric telegraph", it contains 81 wood engravings, over 60 pages documenting the device itself and it's applications (including oddly Chess Playing), many reports to Congress on the subject, and a history of telegraphs employing electricity in various ways for the transmission of intelligence. As such, it is the earliest, and most complete survey of the work done to that date, the cradle period of telegraphic expansion into the "real world" from the laboratory.

There also exists a 24 page work cited in Norman and Hooke's Origins of Cyberspace (#208), again by Vail in 1845, which includes pages [9]-31 of the present work, apparently from the same set of type, albeit with different page numbering and a separate title page. That pamphlet covers the telegraph device used in the Baltimore Washington trial, but lacks the historical perspective as well as the survey of other devices that had been used up until that date. While Norman and Hooke note that the 24 page pamphlet was "probably" issued first, we found no evidence in our investigation to support the precedence of either work. Both contain the identical early printing of Morse code.

Shiers & Sterling (6-003) ; Not in Origins of Cyberspace ; Wheeler 1137 ; Ronalds Collection (which only included the 1847 edition)

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