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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/815

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A CENTURY OF THE TELEGRAPH IN FRANCE.

nary credit of two hundred and forty thousand francs for making experiments. The works commenced promptly on the railroad of Paris to Rouen, and on the 18th of May, 1845, the first dispatches by the electric telegraph took place.

The first telegraphic apparatus used was the patent of Foy-Bréguet. On the 20th of November, 1850, a law was made permitting private persons to send dispatches over the wires (the. state hitherto was the only party using it) after rigorous investigation of their identity. The tariff was established at three francs per dispatch of one to twenty words; over, twelve centimes per myriametre. On the 31st of December, 1851, was inaugurated the submarine cable from Calais to Dover.

The number of dispatches in 1851 was 9,014. The length of the telegraphic lines in operation attained at December 31, 1851, 2,133 kilometres.

In 1854 was created the general direction of telegraphic lines. The writing apparatus of Morse substituted the fugitive signals of the Foy-Bréguet system, and the telegraphic system went from 7,175 kilometres to 9,244 kilometres of lines.

The year 1800 was signaled by an important fact. A conditional agreement was concluded with Mr. Hughes, professor of physics at New York, the celebrated inventor of the printing apparatus, which was definitely adopted in 1861 by the French.

The decree of the 13th of August, 1804, lowered from one franc to fifty centimes the tariff on dispatches simply circulating in Paris. The happy consequences of this liberal measure surpassed the most optimistic prophecies. They resulted in the following figures, comment on which is superfluous. Number of dispatches in January, 1864, 577; in December, 1864, 11,250.

The year 1805 was marked by one of the most considerable events in telegraphy—the reunion at Paris of the first international telegraphic conference, due to the initiative of France.

Two years later the first pneumatic line appeared in Paris. With the advent of the third republic, and up to within the last years, prodigious developments have been made in telegraphy.

Military telegraphy, or optical telegraphy with the aid of the sun, has also advanced. A description of these apparatus would run into too much space. It will suffice to state that two telegraphists are necessary for managing an optical apparatus. One reads the signals aloud as he perceives them, the other writes them down. There are two classes of instruments, telescopic and "campaign."

Here are the last statistics of the telegraphic bureau in France for one year: Number of inland telegrams, 20,084,742; international, 5,318,205; total, 31,403,007.

Development of the telegraphic system: Overhead lines, 80,440