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

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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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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 ...

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Davy, Edward (1806–1885), chemist and promoter of the telegraph, was born on 16 June 1806 at Ottery St Mary, Devon, the eldest son of Thomas Davy, a surgeon, and his wife, Elizabeth Boutflower. He was educated at the Revd Richard Houlditch's school at ...

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Fennessy, Sir Edward (1912–2009), radar pioneer and telecommunications executive, was born on 17 January 1912 at 26 Haldane Road, East Ham, London, the eldest of three children of Edward Patrick Fennessy (1884–1955), a schoolteacher of Irish descent, and his wife, Eleanor, née Arkwright (1882–1942)...

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Gamble, John (1761/2–1811), Church of England clergyman and writer on telegraphy, was born at Bungay, Suffolk, the son of Dixon Gamble, wool dealer. He was admitted to Pembroke College, Cambridge, in 1780, graduating BA in 1784, and taking his MA in 1787. He became a fellow of his college, was chaplain to the ...

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Glass, Sir Richard Atwood (1820–1873), telegraph cable manufacturer, was born at Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire, the son of Francis Glass and his wife Mary, née Canning, of Marlborough, Wiltshire. He had a brother, Francis. He attended King's College School, 1833–5, before entering an accountant's office in ...

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Grimston, Robert (1816–1884), cricketer and promoter of telegraphy, fourth son of James Walter Grimston, first earl of Verulam (1775–1845), and his wife, Charlotte (1783–1863), second daughter of Charles Jenkinson, first earl of Liverpool, was born at 42 Grosvenor Square, London, on 18 September 1816. He was a descendant of ...

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Highton, Henry (1816–1874), schoolmaster and experimenter in telegraphy, was born at Leicester on 19 January 1816, the eldest son of Henry Highton of that town. He was educated at Rugby School under Thomas Arnold, with whom he remained friendly for a number of years afterwards. He matriculated at ...

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David Edward Hughes (1829/3131–1900) by unknown photographer, 1890s Heritage Images Partnership

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C. H. Lees

revised by Christopher F. Lindsey

Hughes, David Edward (1829/31–1900), teacher and telegraph engineer, was born either on 18 June 1829 or on 16 May 1831 at Corwen, near Bala, Merioneth, or in Holborn, London, the second son in the family of three sons and one daughter of David Hughes...

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Sir Henry Bradwardine Jackson (1855–1929) by Walter Stoneman, 1918 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Jackson, Sir Henry Bradwardine (1855–1929), naval officer and developer of wireless telegraphy, was born on 21 January 1855 at Barnsley, Yorkshire, the eldest son of Henry Jackson, a farmer in nearby Cudworth, and his wife, Jane, the daughter of Charles Tee of Barnsley...