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The language of dots and dashes.

Morse code is a system of dots, dashes, and spaces used to send messages. Each pattern of dots and dashes stands for a different letter or number. Samuel Morse, the inventor of the telegraph, developed the system.

The telegraph used electricity traveling through wire, a type of on/off switch called a "key," a receiver containing electromagnets, and a sounding bar. The sending telegraph operator closed and opened the key to send Morse code in short and long patterns of electric current to the receiver. The receiver made clicking and clacking sounds with short and long pauses. The receiving operator identified the sounds as the code for letters and wrote out the message. For many years, this was the fastest way to send news from town to town or coast to coast.

Several years later, the code was adapted for radio use. Short and long sounds or tones were sent for the dots and dashes. No connecting wires were needed because radio signals could travel through space. Ships at sea now had a way to communicate with other ships or send messages to people on land.

A new version of Morse code, known as international Morse code, eventually became accepted as the standard form of dot and dash language. Tones, lights, flags, blinking eyes, tapping fingers, or the voice could be used to send its patterns.

Of course, with modern radios, television, computers, and satellite technology, the need to use Morse code has dropped off sharply. But there are still many ways that the code is used. Amateur radio enthusiasts, sometimes called "hams," use the international Morse code to talk with other hams around the world. It is the most reliable way to communicate with very weak signals or poor atmospheric conditions.

Those without the ability to speak, write, sign, or use keyboards can use the Morse code to communicate using specially adapted computers. With switches operated by the tongue or by breath, the person can send Morse code patterns to operate and type on the computer.

The Morse code distress signal of S O S (... --- ...) is internationally recognized. Over the years, it has been used to successfully draw attention to emergencies on land, sea, and in the air. It continues to be used today in special situations.

The original telegraph code developed by Samuel Morse has not been used for sometime. However, dots, dashes, and spaces live on in the international code that bears his name.


A.- B-... C-.-. D-.. E. F..-.

G--. H.... I.. J.--- K-.- L.-..

M-- N-. O--- P.--. Q--.-

R.-. S... T- U..- V...- W.--

X-..- Y-.-- Z--..

Use the International Morse Code to discover another fact about its inventor. A gap is placed between letters. A larger space is used between words.

... .- -- ..- . .-.. -- --- .-. ... .

.-- .- ... .- .--. .- .. -. - . .-.

----- ----- --- - -------

Answer: Samuel Morse was a painter.

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Author:Gabby, Aunt
Publication:Fun For Kidz
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2003
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