View Full Version : Thursday Trivia: Samuel Morse

Star lover
June 28th, 2018, 07:16 AM
Before he developed the telegraph and the code that bears his name, Samuel F.B. Morse (the F.B. stands for Finley Breese) was an accomplished painter who trained at the Royal Academy of Art in London.


His "Gallery of the Louvre" depicts all of that museum's great works — including Mona Lisa — hung in a single room.


His portrait of John Adams — for which he was paid a paltry $25 in 1816 — is in the collection of the Brooklyn Museum.


His portrait of James Monroe hangs in the Blue Room of the White House.


In the decade between 1825 and 1835, grief transformed to opportunity for Samuel Morse. In February 1825, after giving birth to their third child, Lucretia, his wife, died. Morse was away from home working on a painting commission when he heard his wife was gravely ill, and by the time he arrived home, she had already been buried.

The next year Morse’s father died, and his mother passed three years later. Deep in grief, in 1829 Morse traveled to Europe to recover. On his voyage home, in 1832, he met the inventor Charles Thomas Jackson, and the two got into a discussion about how an electronic impulse could be carried along a wire for long distances.

Morse immediately became intrigued and made some sketches of a mechanical device that he believed would accomplish the task.

In 1838, Morse formed a partnership with fellow inventor Alfred Vail, who contributed funds and helped develop the system of dots and dashes for sending signals that would eventually become known as Morse code.


For years, the pair struggled to find investors, until 1842, when Morse gained the attention of Maine Congressman Francis Ormand Jonathan Smith. In December of that same year, Morse strung wires between two committee rooms in the Capitol and sent messages back and forth.

With Smith’s support, the demonstration won Morse a $30,000 Congressional appropriation to construct an experimental 38-mile telegraph line between Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, Maryland. On May 24, 1844, Morse tapped out his now-famous first message, "What hath God wrought!"

153514. Morse with his recorder, photograph taken by Mathew Brady in 1857

June 28th, 2018, 02:06 PM
He is a distant relation but I never knew he was a painter. Thanks

June 28th, 2018, 06:03 PM

June 28th, 2018, 09:35 PM
Very interesting!

June 29th, 2018, 10:39 AM
It's awesome to think that this was the first electronic communication. Can you imagine if we had to write to each other on the forum using dots and dashes? Yet a first step must be taken, and Morse code was the baby step that got us to the Missouri Star Quilt Forum today!