Morse received a government grant to test his telegraph in 1845. Here’s an account of the first official message, from a hagiography of Exalted Saint Morse, dismissing all earlier and later inventors.
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On April 1, 1845, the line which had been worked as a curiosity was opened for public business. The operators appointed were Mr. Vail at Washington, and Mr. Henry J. Rogers at Baltimore. The tariff fixed upon by the Postmaster-General was one cent for every four characters. [In modern money, about 50 cents per word.]
During the first four days the receipts amounted to one cent. This was obtained from an office-seeker, who said he had nothing less than a twenty dollar bill and one cent, and with the modesty of his class, wanted to see the operation free. This was refused, because against orders. He was then told that he could have a cent’s worth of telegraphy, to which he agreed. He was gratified in the following manner:
Washington asked Baltimore 4 which meant in the list of signals “What time is it?” Baltimore replied 1 which meant one o’clock. This was one character each way, which would amount to half a cent. The man paid his one cent, magnanimously declined the change, and went his way.
The telegraph was now fairly started. It spoke for itself with no uncertain tongue. Its immense value scemed apparent. Prof. Morse offered it to government for $100,000. The Postmaster General replied that the operation of the telegraph between Washington and Baltimore had not satisfied him that under any rate of postage that could be adopted, its revenues could be made equal to its expenditures. The offer was thereupon refused.
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Despite the sanctimonious tone, this story shows a permanent fact about politicians. Aristocrats NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER pay for anything, and ALWAYS believe they’re fooling the peasants with their super-clever tricks and swindles. The story also illustrates the dictionary software of Morse’s original conception.
Another story shows the origin of another asshole habit that we believe to be modern:
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It is related that about this time a distinguished functionary asked an assistant how large a bundle could be sent over the wires, and if the United States mail could not be sent in the same way. Some wag did straddle a pair of dirty boots over one of the wires, and very seriously told an astonished citizen that they got dirty by coming so fast from Baltimore.
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Speaking of office-seekers: I watched the idiotic noise in Congress for a few minutes yesterday. The Repoofs are having an incomprehensible fake dispute between two identical “leaders”. Neither “leader” will solve any problems. Both will continue to manufacture problems infinitely faster than people and companies can adapt or adjust or solve them. Apparently one of the “leaders” wants to spend more time fakely impeaching Current President Of Other Party, and the other “leader” isn’t quite as enthusiastic about this particular way of wasting time and money. This incomprehensible and inconsequential difference justifies several days of public attention to an infinitely meaningless theater of the hyperabsurd.
A human clerk is counting up the “votes” using a real pencil with a real eraser on real paper, and announcing the results with her real voice. No electronics at all. Still no telegraphs for the aristocrats! The genocidal swindle of social media, along with the NAZI TORTURE of muzzles and needles and lucite, is solely for the peasants.