A picture of a telegraph machine part

Telegraph Facts for Kids

This web page contains telegraph facts for kids and is an excellent resource for anyone of any age looking to learn about this communications method. Our goal is to provide you with accurate, up to date facts about the telegraph. In addition to facts about the telegraph, we provide additional resources to help you with your research on the electrical telegraph machine.

The telegraph facts below will help you learn about telegraphs, who invented the first telegraph machine, how telegraph machines work, what ended the era of the telegraph and other telegraph related facts. We hope these telegraph facts are interesting and help you learn more about this world changing communications method.

If any of the below telegraph facts are inaccurate, please contact us and let us know.


19 Telegraph Facts for Kids

  1. A telegraph was an electric machine that enabled text communications over a long-distance.
  2. Telegraphs work by sending an electric pulse, which can vary in length, which is translated into text.
  3. In order to send via telegraph, there needed to be two telegraph machines. One on the sender’s side and one on the receiver’s side. Both telegraph machines would have needed to be connected via wires.
  4. For over a hundred years the telegraph was the primary tool used to send printed information.
  5. English inventor Francis Ronalds created the first working telegraph machine in 1816.
  6. The American painter and inventor Samuel Morse created the Morse Code system in 1835.
  7. Samuel Morse is credited with inventing the first single cable telegraph machine.
  8. Samuel Morse convinced the U.S. Congress to appropriate $30,000 to build a telegraph line between Baltimore, Maryland and Washington, D.C.
  9. On May 24th, 1844, Samuel Morse sent the first message over the Baltimore–Washington telegraph line. The first transmission was, "What hath God wrought."
  10. By 1852, there was over 23,000 miles of telegraph wires in the United States of America.
  11. By 1852, there was over 2,200 miles of telegraph wires in the United Kingdom.
  12. By 1852, there was over 900 miles of telegraph wires in Canada.
  13. By 1852, there was over 700 miles of telegraph wires in France.
  14. The first transatlantic telegraph cable was between Ireland and Newfoundland.
  15. The first transatlantic telegraph message was sent on August 16th, 1858.
  16. The first transatlantic telegraph cable vastly reduced the communication time between Europe and North American. What use to take 10 days via a ship could be done in minutes use the transatlantic telegraph line.
  17. The telegraph era ended with the rise of the telephone.
  18. The first armed conflict to see the use of telegraph technology was the Crimean War (1853 to 1856).
  19. The term telegram was derived from the process of sending someone a message over a telegraph line.

Additional Resources with Telegraph Facts