The Telegraph in America, 1832-1920 [NOOK Book]

Overview

Telegraphy in the nineteenth century approximated the internet in our own day. Historian and electrical engineer David Hochfelder offers readers a comprehensive history of this groundbreaking technology, which employs breaks in an electrical current to send code along miles of wire. The Telegraph in America, 1832–1920, examines the correlation between technological innovation and social change and shows how this transformative relationship helps us to understand and perhaps ...

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The Telegraph in America, 1832-1920

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Overview

Telegraphy in the nineteenth century approximated the internet in our own day. Historian and electrical engineer David Hochfelder offers readers a comprehensive history of this groundbreaking technology, which employs breaks in an electrical current to send code along miles of wire. The Telegraph in America, 1832–1920, examines the correlation between technological innovation and social change and shows how this transformative relationship helps us to understand and perhaps define modernity.

The telegraph revolutionized the spread of information—speeding personal messages, news of public events, and details of stock fluctuations. During the Civil War, telegraphed intelligence and high-level directives gave the Union war effort a critical advantage. Afterward, the telegraph helped build and break fortunes and, along with the railroad, altered the way Americans thought about time and space. Hochfelder thus supplies us with an introduction to the early stirrings of the information age.

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Editorial Reviews

MAKE: A Literary Magazine - Daniel Wuebben

While offering new insights into the relationship between Western Union and Associated Press, Hochfelder's strongest contribution to the history of telegraphy is his analysis of wiring on financial markets and the subsequent spread of speculation and gambling fueled by private wires and telegraph ticker services.

New Books in Communications - Jeff Pooley

In The Telegraph in America, 1832–1920, David Hochfelder provides a taut and consistently intelligent history of the telegraph in American life. The book is notable for both its topical breadth—encompassing war, politics, business, journalism, and everyday life—as well as its focused, argument-driven chapters.

EH.Net - Alex Nalbach

The author... develops nuanced analyses to the impact of telegraphy on upon American life.

American Historical Review - David Goodman

Hochfelder’s work is exemplary in its caution about mediator technology-specific claims to exceptionalism or determinism. This authoritative and persuasive book will remain an essential reference for scholars.

Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly - Christopher H. Sterling

For a quick assessment of telegraphy’s development and impact, this insightful book is hard to beat.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

David Hochfelder is an assistant professor of history at The State University of New York, Albany.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Introduction Why the Telegraph Was Revolutionary 1

1 "Here the Telegraph Came Forceably into Play" The Telegraph during the Civil War 6

2 "As a Telegraph for the People It Is a Signal Failure" The Postal Telegraph Movement 32

3 "There Is a Public Voracity for Telegraphic News" The Telegraph, Written Language, and Journalism 73

4 "The Ticker Is Always a Treacherous Servant" The Telegraph and the Rise of Modern Finance Capitalism 101

5 "Western Union, by Grace of FCC and A.T.&T." The Telegraph, the Telephone, and the Logic of Industrial Succession 138

Conclusion The Promise of Telegraphy 176

Chronology of the American Telegraph Industry 181

Notes 189

Essay on Sources 229

Index 245

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