Samuel F. B. Morse, the Inventor of Telegraph System and Painter

Samuel F. B. Morse was American inventor of telegraph system. He developed telegraph that could send signal though wires to reach recipient located miles away. He was the co-founder of Morse code as language for telegraph itself.

F.B. in his name was Finley Breese. He did not official education or any training as engineer. On contrary, his proficiency and interest was in art, especially painting. He turned into telegraph system as the result of his grief because his wife was died.

Early Life and Education

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Samuel Morse was born on April 27, 1791, in Charlestown, Massachusetts. His father was Jedidiah Morse, a pastor. His mother was Elizabeth Ann Finley. Since childhood, he received tutor regarding religion through his father.

He went to Phillips Academy then attended Yale College. His majors were mathematics, religious philosophy, and learning about horse. During study, he also had lecture about electricity.


Samuel F. B. Morse chooses painting as his career, but his father declined and refused. However, Morse’s father gave permission to pursue painting as professional. He went to England to study more about painting technique and style. He learned under supervision from Washington Allston.

He created painting with tittle the Dying Hercules. People considered his art as unique with political satire. In England, Morse interacted and communicated with many artists. However, the situation was dire when American and British were in war in 1912.

He returned home and worked as painter. He painted a work called the Judgment of Jupiter. It was his masterpiece because it contained his Calvinist view. In order to support his life, he went to many places to promote his skill as itinerary painter for portraits.


Samuel F. B. Morse received horse messenger from his father and he stated that his wife was convalescent. In that time, he was in Washington to paint Lafayette. He left immediately and found his wife was already buried. One year later, his father was died and his mother followed three years later.

In his grief, he went to Europe. He decided to learn about electromagnetism in order to create single-wire telegraph. He met several researchers, experts, and people who did not yet succeeded. He created the first sketch for his next machine.

After gained Federal support, he had money to develop telegraph. His first message was “What hath God wrought”. The Magnate Company was responsible to produce, install, and expand telegraph technology.


He received patent for his invention in 1847. After that, he used company to extend network and spread technology to other countries. He also involved in South America for telegraph network.

After years, his patent received litigation from others. After several legal battles, US Supreme Court considered Morse as the right invention for telegraph, though he did not received official recognition.

Honors and Later Years

His first wife was Lucretia Pickering Walker. After she was died, Morse married to second wife, Sarah Elizabeth Griswold. He had seven children from both. In 1987, he died due to pneumonia.

He received many awards, recognitions, and honors. Samuel F. B. Morse was cited in many journals, books, and articles as the great inventor all the time. Morse code is still in use in several fields.


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