Sir Charles Wheatstone, English physicist, c 1860s.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Photograph of Sir Charles Wheatstone, FRS, LLD (1802-1875), pioneer of electric telegraphy. In 1837, together with William Fothergill Cooke (1806-1879), he patented the five-needle telegraph machine, which was the first succesful electric telecommunication device. Initially used on the newly developing railways, by 1938 it was used for sending public telegrams. Wheatstone also designed the ABC telegraph, a system used by the Post Office for several years, as well as systems in Belgium and France. He was knighted in 1868.