The Genesis of Electrical Telegraphy in Germany (1810s – 1840s)

Publication type Article
Status Published
Affiliation: A. S. Popov Central Museum of Communications
Address: St. Petersburg, Pochtamtsky per., 4
Journal nameVoprosy istorii estestvoznaniia i tekhniki
EditionVolume 42 1

This article aims to analyze the history of emergence and early development of electrical telegraphy in Germany. The themes reviewed here include the studies conducted by the German scientists in the field of electrical telegraphy in the early 19 th century; the making of practical electrical telegraphy in Germany; the construction of the first railroad, military and public telegraph lines; and telegraph equipment manufacturing. It is established that the works of the German scientists carried out in the 1810s – 1830s left a significant mark in the history of science but have not been translated into practice. The situation changed in the 1840s: having started with importing the English technologies (the Cooke and Wheatstone telegraph and the use of gutta-percha for wire insulation), the German specialists and entrepreneurs eventually began to export both their products and professionals in the field of electrical telegraphy, and won the Russian market. It is noted that the refusal to patent foreign telegraph equipment helped to boost the inventing initiatives of the Germans engineers and create competitive environment in the country. It was also characteristic for Germany that the telegraph industry was created based on handicraft workshops and, in the 1840s, the telegraph networks were being built and operated by local companies. The findings expounded in this article will be helpful for future studies aiming to reconstruct a comprehensive picture of the history of telecommunications, to analyze Russian achievements in the field of electrical telegraphy in the context of international accomplishments in this field, and to understand why Russia’s telegraph market happened to be monopolized by Siemens & Halske since the 1850s.

Keywordselectrical telegraphy, history of telegraph communications, telegraph in Germany, Ernst Werner von Siemens, Siemens & Halske, Pavel Lvovich (Paul) Schilling, Boris Semyonovich (Moritz Hermann) Jacob
Publication date29.03.2021
Number of characters45220
100 rub.
When subscribing to an article or issue, the user can download PDF, evaluate the publication or contact the author. Need to register.

Number of purchasers: 0, views: 645

Readers community rating: votes 0

1. Bocharova, M. D. (1959) Elektrotekhnicheskie raboty B. S. Iakobi [Electrotechnical Works by B. S. Jacobi]. Moskva: Gosenergoizdat.

2. Garratt, G. R. (1965) The Early History of Telegraphy, Philips Technical Review, vol. 26, no. 8–9, pp. 268–284.

3. Huurdeman, A. (2003) The Worldwide History of Telecommunications. New York: Wiley-Interscience.

4. Iarotskii, A. V. (1963) Pavel L’vovich Shilling [Pavel Lvovich Schilling]. Moskva: Izdatel’stvo AN SSSR.

5. Iarotskii, A. V. (1988) Boris Semenovich Iakobi (1801–1874) [Boris Semyonovich Jacobi]. Moskva: Nauka.

6. Istoriia telegrafa v Rossii [The History of Telegraph in Russia] (1881), Elektrichestvo, no. 15, рр. 229–230.

7. Kann, G. (1926) Kratkaia istoriia chasovogo iskusstva [A Brief History of the Art of Watchmaking]. Leningrad: Gublit.

8. Kouzov, A. I. (1915) Kratkii obzor razvitiia telegrafov v Rossii v sviazi s rol’iu inzhenerov-elektrikov v pochtovo-telegrafnom vedomstve [A Brief Overview of the Development of Telegraphs in Russia in Relation to the Role of Electrical Engineers in the Postal and Telegraph Office], Pochtovo-telegrafnyi zhurnal, neofitsial’nyi otdel, no. 11–12, pp. 420–443.

9. Nekrolog. V. E. Veber (24 oktiabria 1804 – 11 iiunia 1891) [Obituary. W. E. Weber (October 24, 1804 – June 11, 1891)] (1891), Pochtovo-telegrafnyi zhurnal, neofitsial’nyi otdel, no. 12, p. 566.

10. Piatidesiatiletie elektricheskikh telegrafov v Rossii kak obshchestvennogo sredstva soobshcheniia [Fifty Years of Electric Telegraphs in Russia as a Public Means of Communication] (1905), Pochtovo-telegrafnyi zhurnal, neofitsial’nyi otdel, no. 4, pp. 367–377.

11. Reif-Acherman, S. (2017) Ernst Werner von Siemens and the Early Evolution and Diffusion of Electric Telegraphy, Proceedings of the IEEE, vol. 105, no. 11, pp. 2274–2284.

12. Roberts, S. (2014) A History of the Telegraph Companies in Britain between 1838 and 1868. The Rest of the World 1838–1868,

13. Samuel’ Tomas fon Zemmering [Samuel Thomas von S ö mmerring] (1888), Pochtovo-telegrafnyi zhurnal, neofitsial’nyi otdel, no. 3, рр. 155–161.

14. Shedling G. (1888) Shteingeil’ Karl Avgust [Carl August von Steinheil], Pochtovo-telegrafnyi zhurnal, neofitsial’nyi otdel, no. 6, pp. 325–341.

15. Simens, V., fon (Siemens, W., von) (2015) Kak ia izobretal mir [How I Invented the World]. Sankt-Peterburg: Piter.

16. Wichert, H. W. (2019) August Ephraim Kramer, =11511.

Система Orphus