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by John Hudson Tiner
The world-famous artist, Samuel Morse, boarded the packet ship Sully in France to sail for New York. He listened as other passengers tossed ideas back and forth. One man asked, "Is the flow of electricity slowed by the length of a wire?" Someone else responded, "No."
The thought captured Samuel's imagination. Could signals be sent instantly anywhere along a wire by electricity? Could newspapers in America carry news of events that had taken place that very morning in Europe?
But an idea is not enough. It must be expressed in terms of wire, magnets, and batteries. He filled his notebook with dozens of drawings - diagrams of wire circuits, electromagnets, levers, switches, a moving strip of paper.
When Samuel disembarked in New York, he immediately announced to his brothers, "During the voyage, I made an important invention that will astonish the world. The telegraph is a way to communicate by means of electricity. The dots and spaces make it possible—"
"But what of your career as an artist?" his brother interrupted. Samuel said, "I could earn a good living as a painter. But for my invention to succeed, I should give full time to it." And that's what Samuel did — for the next twelve years!
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