Electrical Telegraph - Pole Climbing

Photo Details

This electrician is believed to be repairing an early electrical telegraph line in approximately 1862 or 1863.

The electrical telegraph has a fascinating history of innovation that began as early as the mid 1700's in Europe. Of course, in the United States Samuel Morse and Alfred Vail are the inventors of the famous morse telegraph system developed in the late 1830's.

By 1843, the U.S. Congress approved a budget of $30,000 to fund an experimental telegraph line from Washington D.C. to Baltimore Maryland. In the following decades the morse electrical telegraphs were adopted around the United States. On October 24th, 1861 the first transcontinental telegraph system was established, connecting the Eastern and Western States. In fact, one of the first transcontinental messages was from Utah governor Brigham Young to Washington D.C, stating "Utah has not seceded but is firm for the Constitution and the laws of our once happy country." Of course this is in reference to the United States Civil War which began a few months earlier. Two days after this telegraph, the once popular Pony Express closed their operations.

Part of the U.S. Library of Congress's .

in United States of America
Russell, Andrew J., photographer
  • Salted paper prints--1860-1870.
  • 1 photographic print : salted paper.
United States. Army. Military Railway Service.
  • No. 61 & 62 (handwritten) and 2562 (stamped) on mount.
  • Title devised by Library staff.
  • Forms part of Civil War photos, military construction and transportation in Northern Virginia and elsewhere / United States Military Railway Department (Library of Congress).


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