Desmond Longman


In 1836 Morse code was invented to transmit long distance messages through a series of on-off tones, lights, or clicks that can be directly understood by a skilled listener or observer without any special equipment. The international Morse code encodes ISO basic Latin alphabet, some extra Latin letters, the Arabic numerals, and a small set of punctuation and procedural signals as standardized sequences of short and long signals called "dots" and "dashes".

Each character (letter or number) is represented by a sequence of unique dots or dashes. The length of a dash is 3 times the length of a dot. Each dot or dash is followed by a short silence, equal to the dot duration. The letters of a word are separated by a space equal to three dots (one dash), and the words are separated by a space equal to seven dots.

Morse code alphabet
Morse code alphabet

Morse code transmitter
Morse code transmitter


Morse code was invented in 1835 by Samuel F. B. Morse (1791-1872), an American Painter and inventor. In his middle age, Morse contributed to the invention of a single-wire telegraph system based on European telegraphs. He was co-developer of the Morse code, and helped to develop the commercial use of telegraphy.

Where it was used

Morse code was used in many places, in the 1890's it began to be used extensively for early radio communication, before it was possible to transmit voice. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, most high-speed international communication used Morse code on telegraph lines, undersea cables and radio circuits.

Radio telegraphy using Morse code was vital during World War 2, especially for carrying messages between warships and naval bases. It was also used by war planes that were sent to scout for enemy warships.

The U.S model, the J-38 was manufactured in massive quantities in World War 2.

U.S. model, J-38
U.S. model, J-38


Morse code was primarily the first form of mechanical communication and would eventually become the telephones and other forms communication devices that we have today.


Learn it yourself!