What Hath God Wrought

The telegraph was an even more dramatic innovation in its day than the Internet

On May 24, 1844, Professor Samuel F. B. Morse, seated in the chambers of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, tapped a message into a device of cogs and coiled wires, employing a code that he had recently devised to send a biblical text: “What hath God wrought.” Forty miles away in Baltimore, Morse’s associate Alfred Vail received the electric signals and returned the message. As those who witnessed it understood, this demonstration would change the world. Read more »

Inventing The Telegraph

Incidents in history are usually significant only in combination with a succession of other incidents. Isolated incidents can assume importance only when they summarize an epoch in one dramatic moment or when fuller knowledge of the event might alter interpretations. Read more »

O.k. The Last Word

When did we start saying it? And why?

FROM THE OIL FIELDS of Indonesia to the tulip fields of Holland to the rice fields of Brazil, a traveler overhears conversations sounding something like this:

FIRSTNATIVE : “Unintelligible unintelligible unintelligible, okay?”

SECONDNATIVE : “Okay.” Read more »