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Wheatstone automatic tape transmitter, c 1850s.

Wheatstone automatic tape transmitter, c 1850s.
4 0 c m
actual image size: 25cm x 32cm


Sir Charles Wheatstone (1802-1875) introduced paper tape as a medium for transmitting data in 1857, using two rows of holes to represent Morse code's dots and dashes. In this transmitter, the signals of the mesage are punched in Morse onto a strip of paper, which is then pased through the sending-key and controls the signal currents. The mechanisation of the means of sending a mesage meant that it was posible to telegraph up to 100 words per minute - at least five times faster than through manual means. This apparatus was widely used in the Postal Telegraph Service for sending Pres telegrams.

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© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library

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