BT Archives

Events in Telecommunications History

1837

William Fothergill Cooke (1806-1879) and Professor Charles Wheatstone (1802-1875) entered into a partnership in May, and on 10 June patented a five-needle telegraph for which five wires were necessary. The telegraph worked by deflecting any two of the needles at the same time to point to any one of 20 letters on the grid behind the needle. Sending and receiving messages was a slow process as each word had to be spelt out. With only 20 letters on the grid, the spelling sometimes contained inaccuracies. On 25 July, Wheatstone's and Cooke's telegraph was demonstrated to the directors of the London and Birmingham Railway between Euston and Camden Town, a distance of just under a mile. 

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