A Biography of Samuel Morse, Inventor
Samuel Morse invented the telegraph key. This changed communication forever. Before the telegraph, getting messages to one place to another could take months. There were no telephones and no computers. But in the beginning, no one believed in Morse’s inventions. For years, he kept trying to persuade officials. At last, Morse strung wire from Baltimore to Washington DC, sent a coded message, and showed the world that the telegraph was a terrific invention.
Samuel Morse was also a famous painter. You will see many of his paintings in the Smithsonian Museum in Washington DC. This biography of Samuel Morse describes his childhood, his life as a painter and inventor, and includes information on the Morse code and making a telegraph key.
All quotations in the book are from Morse’s writings. This new edition, revised and updated, will enchant readers seeking narrative nonfiction and STEM books.
Reviews for Samuel Morse by Mona Kerby
“An appealing biography and an introduction to the telegraph and Morse code. Kerby describes how Morse overcame opposition and changed the world, emphasizing his persistence and spirit of experimentation. Clearly written instructions for the construction of a simple telegraph follow the narrative . . . An excellent choice, especially for those struggling to find quality nonfiction for younger and reluctant readers.” School Library Journal
The Opening Paragraphs of Chapter 4 Experimenting with Morse Code
You don’t need a telegraph key to send the Morse code. Write the code on paper. Tap the code with your finger. Blink the code with your eyelids. Flash the code with a flashlight. You can even talk in Morse code.
Perhaps the easiest way to learn the code is to say it out loud. You’ll have more fun if you practice it with a friend. Don’t memorize the code by the way it looks. Memorize it by the way it sounds.
Look at the code. Do you see that it is entirely made up of dots and dashes? Each letter and number has its own combination of these symbols. When you say the Morse code, however, don’t say “dot” and “dash.” Instead, say “dit” for the dot and “dah” for the dash. The “t” of the “dit” is pronounced only when it ends a code.
Just like music, the Morse code has rhythm and beat. A “dit” receives one count and a “dah” receives three counts. (The word “dit” lasts the same length of the time it takes you to count to one. The word “dah” lasts three counts.) In code, the letter “A” sounds like “di¬DAH.” Accent the “dah” sound.
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