Friday, January 15

The Notable Coincidence Of Thomas Edison And Samuel Morse

Samuel Morse and the Telegraph
Samuel Morse and the Telegraph
In 1910 the following story, combining Thomas A. Edison and Samuel F.B Morse, was described as a notable coincidence. The following is from a newspaper cutting from the year 1910 telling of the incident.

In the middle of 80s [that's the 1880s] Thomas A. Edison took a house in Gramercy Park, where he found himself very well situated for the leisure which he always enjoys, being by nature a reposeful man and not the grinding dynamo that people often fancy him.

Thomas A Edison
Thomas A Edison
Few things suit better the mood of idleness than to poke aimlessly around an old house that has its legible traces and signs of human occupancy, and thus one day Edison found himself in the garret of the house, where some old furniture had been stored.

Opening one of the drawers he saw a flat, oblong book labelled 'Daily Journal'. To his great astonishment this proved to be nothing less than an original diary kept by Samuel F.B Morse, inventor of the system of telegraphy which bears his name.

The entries belonged to a brief but interesting period of his life, the year 1848, supplemented by transcripts of important correspondence dated back as far as 1843, when the electro-magnetic system was being constructed between Washington and Baltimore.

Edison put the book away carefully and took it with him when he established himself at his home in New Jersey. He has now placed it in the hands of the American Institute of Electric Engineers with this comment of July 22, 1909:

"As this appears to be a matter of great scientific and public interest, I feel this journal should be placed where it may be accessible to others, and I therefore take much pleasure in forwarding the same herewith in the presenting it to your institute, in the hope that it may be deemed worthy of receiving a place among the mementos of the telegraphic art of your library."

That Edison himself, the great telegraph inventor of our age, who stands next in line to Franklin and Morse as master of the electrical forces, should have chanced thus casually on such a lost relic of his predecessor is to say the least a notable coincidence.

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  1. Very old picture. thanks for sharing.
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  2. Fascinating! And I like that the article notes the coincidence!