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Emily Suess

Dashing Dots: Famous Morse Code Message Turns 170

May 22, 2014 —
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Saturday, May 24, is the 170th anniversary of the day inventor Samuel Morse sent a very famous telegraphic message to Alfred Vail using Morse code.

morse code

In 1884, during a demonstration to the US Congress, four words were sent on a telegraph line from Washington, DC, to Baltimore, Maryland. The message? “What hath God wrought.”

morse code: What hath God wrought

The words were taken from Numbers 23:23, and the original paper tape of Morse’s first message is still on display at the Library of Congress.

But you don’t have to go to the Library of Congress to commemorate this moment in telecommunications history. Wolfram|Alpha can translate any string into Morse code’s iconic combination of dashes and dots for you.

Wolfram|Alpha in Morse code

You can also use Wolfram|Alpha to decrypt messages sent in Morse code.

Decrypting Morse code

Go ahead and give it a try by decoding this piece of trivia:

Before Samuel Morse became an inventor, he was a: .–.  .-  ..  -.  –  .  .-..


Good old morse code brings me back to my days taking my amateur radio operator license. I wonder if they still make you learn morse code.

Posted by Thomas Rogers June 4, 2014 at 2:22 pm

    Nah, I got my license last year with a friend and they don’t make you learn it. The test mostly covered technical stuff on how to operate the radio along with FCC regulations…

    Posted by Zachary Straub March 6, 2015 at 2:37 pm