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Alexander Bain (1810–1877) by Campbell Harper? Science & Society Picture Library

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Bain, Alexander (1810–1877), clockmaker and inventor, was born in October 1810 at Houstry, in the parish of Watten, Caithness, the fifth of eleven children of John Bain, a crofter, and his wife, Isobel Waiter. After a basic education at the local village school, ...

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S. E. Fryer

revised by Anita McConnell

Baines, Frederick Ebenezer (1832–1911), promoter of telegraphy, was born on 10 November 1832 and baptized at Chipping Barnet, Hertfordshire, on 19 January 1834. He was the younger son of Edward May Baines, surgeon, of Hendon and Chipping Barnet and his wife, Fanny.

Educated at private schools, ...

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Brett, John Watkins (1805–1863), art collector and telegraph engineer, was born in Bristol, one of at least seven children of William Brett, cabinet-maker. By the age of twelve his enthusiasm for the fine arts was so great that his parents put him under the tuition of ...

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Bright, Sir Charles Tilston (1832–1888), telegraph engineer, was born at Wanstead, Essex, on 8 June 1832, the third and youngest son of Brailsford Bright, a manufacturing chemist, and his wife, Emma Charlotte, the daughter of Edward Tilston. He was educated at the Merchant Taylors' School...

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Brooke, Sir William O'Shaughnessy (1808–1889), doctor and promoter of telegraphy in India, was born William O'Shaughnessy at Limerick in October 1808, the son of Daniel S. O'Shaughnessy of Limerick and his wife, Sara, née Boswell. His uncle was dean of Ennis and his great-uncle Roman Catholic bishop of ...

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C. M. (fl. 1753), supposed projector of the electric telegraph, is an illusory figure, the offspring of credulity and wishful thinking. In 1753 the Scots Magazine published a letter purporting to show how messages could be transmitted over a distance of some yards, by directing electric current to a sequence of wires, each representing a letter of the alphabet, enabling the equivalent letters to be read off at the far end. The letter, dated ...

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Cooke, Sir William Fothergill (1806–1879), developer of electric telegraphy, was born on 4 May 1806 at Ealing, Middlesex, one of two sons and two daughters of William Cooke (1776/7–1857), surgeon, and his wife, Elizabeth Ann, née Fothergill. In 1822 William Cooke was elected physician to ...

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Sir William Fothergill Cooke (1806–1879) by unknown photographer, 1870s Heritage Images Partnership

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Creed, Frederick George (1871–1957), inventor and manufacturer of telegraph equipment, was born on 6 October 1871 in Mill Village, Nova Scotia, one of six sons of John R. Creed, a poor Scottish émigré, and attended school in the village. At fourteen he became a telegraph operator, working in ...