The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad played a pivotal role in the development of the telegraph. Working in conjunction with Samuel Morse and the Federal Government, the B&O allowed Morse to lay his telegraph line along its right-of-way. Thus allowing the first American commercial railroad to assist with the successful transmission of the nation’s first instantaneous long distance message…”What Hath God Wrought.”
No other form of 19th century scientific advances would have such a profound effect on the nature of communication as the success of the telegraph. The telegraph rapidly increased the speed at which communication took place. Sending a letter could take days, weeks or even months to travel across the country. The telegraph reduced the delay to near instant communication. Messages were sent and received as quickly as the sender could tap out the message and the receiver could copy it down to paper.
Now, information that had taken weeks or months to travel long distances could be transmitted in an instant. Business transactions, government communications, and news of important events traveled through wires that were usually strung along America’s rapidly expanding rail system. The impact of the telegraph was comparable to the development of the modern internet. Both changed our world forever.