Today In History Spotlights Jan. 6, 1838, Samuel Morse Demonstrates the Telegraph

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Today’s History Spotlight

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On January 6, 1838, Samuel Morse’s telegraph system is demonstrated for the first time at the Speedwell Iron Works in Morristown, New Jersey. Together with Alfred Vail, the inventor relayed the message “A patient waiter is no loser” over a distance of 2 miles (3 km).

The telegraph, a communications system that transmits and receives simple unmodulated electric impulses, especially one in which the transmission and reception stations are directly connected by wires, reached the height of its popularity in the 1920s and 1930s.

What Happened On This Day – January 6

  • 1970 The Wiener Musikverein is inaugurated. The famous concert hall is the home of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.
  • 1929 Mother Theresa arrives in India. Through her tireless work in helping the poor and ill, the Albanian religious sister later received the Nobel Peace Prize and was posthumously beatified.
  • 1912 German scientist Alfred Wegener presents his theory of continental drift. His work laid the foundation for the theory of plate tectonics, which explains why continents move.
  • 1907 Maria Montessori opens her first school. Montessori’s revolutionary educational approach is practiced at about 30,000 schools today.

Births On This Day – January 6

  • 1946 Syd Barrett – English singer-songwriter, guitarist
  • 1920 John Maynard Smith – English biologist
  • 1883 Kahlil Gibran – Lebanese/American poet
  • 1811 Charles Sumner – American politician
  • 1412 Joan of Arc

Deaths On This Day – January 6

  • 1999 Michel Petrucciani – French/American pianist
  • 1993 Dizzy Gillespie – American trumpet player, bandleader, composer
  • 1919 Theodore Roosevelt – American politician, 26th President of the United States, Nobel Prize laureate
  • 1918 Georg Cantor – German mathematician
  • 1852 Louis Braille – French educator, invented Braille

The sections “What Happened On This Day,” “Births On This Day,” and “Deaths On This Day” originally appeared at and is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

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