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Quiz about Crossed Wires
Quiz about Crossed Wires

Crossed Wires Trivia Quiz


This quiz deals with the history and development of the electronic means of sending messages over very long distances. Have fun.

A multiple-choice quiz by Creedy. Estimated time: 4 mins.
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Author
Creedy
Time
4 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
349,118
Updated
Feb 07 24
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
7 / 10
Plays
1056
Awards
Top 35% Quiz
Last 3 plays: Peachie13 (10/10), panagos (9/10), colbymanram (5/10).
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Question 1 of 10
1. What 1832-38 invention gave rise to the idea that undersea communication cables might be a real possibility between nations separated by the world's oceans? Hint


Question 2 of 10
2. Initially Samuel Morse encountered problems with being able to transmit electrical messages over more than a few hundred yards. To enable them to be sent over much longer distances, how did he overcome this early setback? Hint


Question 3 of 10
3. What was the first message that was sent over telegraph wires in 1838? Hint


Question 4 of 10
4. Two English inventors beat Samuel Morse to the implementation of the telegraph into public use. Why was this? Hint


Question 5 of 10
5. Who were the two English inventors who beat Samuel Morse to the practical implementation of the telegraph? Hint


Question 6 of 10
6. Samuel Morse was finally able to secure a backer for his invention to be utilised for public use by a far-sighted congressman from Maine. Who was he? Hint


Question 7 of 10
7. From the time that the working telegraph had commenced operation in England in the late 1830s, mankind began to toy with the idea of eventually linking up countries separated by oceans as well. How was this to be achieved? Hint


Question 8 of 10
8. When the first underwater cables were laid across the English channel in 1850, how were they installed? Hint


Question 9 of 10
9. By 1858, the first trans-ocean underwater cable was installed. Which ocean did it cross? Hint


Question 10 of 10
10. So we progress. Telephone, radio, television and the internet have now also added to society's means of transmitting information to individuals - and then came the advent of satellites. Is it true that by the turn of the 21st century satellite links accounted for 90% of the world's international communications?



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Most Recent Scores
May 18 2024 : Peachie13: 10/10
May 14 2024 : panagos: 9/10
May 08 2024 : colbymanram: 5/10
Apr 20 2024 : Guest 24: 8/10

Score Distribution

quiz
Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. What 1832-38 invention gave rise to the idea that undersea communication cables might be a real possibility between nations separated by the world's oceans?

Answer: Telegraph

American Samuel Morse was the man who first came up with the successful method of electrically transmitting messages over very long distances. This followed on from many years of experimentation in electricity by other great men of the past. Born in 1791, Morse commenced studies at Yale College as a young man in mathematics, horse science and religion. During his time there, he attended several lectures on the newfangled electricity that was setting the scientific world buzzing with excitement. His career however initially diverged into one as a successful painter.

In 1825 when he was visiting New York on a painting commission, a note was delivered to him by horse messenger to inform him of his wife's illness. By the time he completed his frantic trip back home to be with her, it was too late. She had died and was buried. Morse was heartbroken at the length of time it had taken for that note to reach him - several days - and the thought that if it had arrived much faster he could have been with her during her last days. It was then that he switched from his successful career as a painter to studying and developing the means to implement rapid long distance communication. The telegraph was the result.
2. Initially Samuel Morse encountered problems with being able to transmit electrical messages over more than a few hundred yards. To enable them to be sent over much longer distances, how did he overcome this early setback?

Answer: By inventing circuits and relays

Such an amazing man. In 1832, Morse met Charles Jackson, a man who was dabbling in electromagnetism. Following observations of Jackson's demonstrations of the interaction between electrically charged particles, Morse came up with the idea of utilising this to send messages over long distances. He worked on it until he was able to transmit messages over several hundred yards, but there he encountered the problem of extending this range further.

In consultation with Leonard Gale, a chemistry professor at New York University, Morse next developed circuits and relays placed every few hundred yards along the wires. These enabled those early messages to then travel electrically over distances of several miles. He encountered another problem at this time with lack of funding. It wouldn't be until he met another inventor, Alfred Vail (who was quite wealthy), that the first public demonstration of electrically transmitted long distance messages was able to take place in 1838, six years after its inception by Morse.
3. What was the first message that was sent over telegraph wires in 1838?

Answer: A patient waiter is no loser

This momentous occasion, which took place in an Ironworks in New Jersey on 11 January 1838, was only witnessed, for the most part, by a small local crowd. It seems a shame that such a truly wonderful event was so little attended. Perhaps a more stirring message would have generated more excitement. "We have struck while the iron is hot" perhaps, or "Dash it all, I've gone dotty" even?

Samuel Morse is also the man credited with the invention of the Morse Code, which is a series of dots and dashes to represent different letters. He was however greatly assisted in its early stages by Alfred Vail as well. Vail concluded, by studying the letters used in articles in his local papers which letters were used the most. He gave the shortest dashes and dots to these more commonly used letters, and longer dots and dashes to the less frequently used ones. Morse then updated this early form of the code both men had worked on so that it could be applied to his telegraph system.
4. Two English inventors beat Samuel Morse to the implementation of the telegraph into public use. Why was this?

Answer: Washington refused to grant Morse the necessary funds

How frustrating would that have been? When Morse failed to get endorsement from America to develop his invention of long distance electrically transmitted messages further, he travelled to Europe and England to find sponsors. There he found that two inventors had come up with a similar idea four years after his own invention, and had patented it in that country.

He had to fight long and hard to have the invention of the telegraph credited to his name.
5. Who were the two English inventors who beat Samuel Morse to the practical implementation of the telegraph?

Answer: Wheatstone and Cooke

These two men had started working on the idea of electrically transmitted messages in 1836, more than four years after Morse came up with his own invention. The difference was the mighty dollar. Morse had to work hard to find any financial backing. It was only when when he struck up a friendship with the well-to-do inventor, Alfred Vail, that their first public demonstration of the telegraph could take place in 1838. By that time, Wheatstone and Cooke, with far greater financial resources, had patented their invention 1837. They were then able to have several miles of telegraph wire installed along the route of one of England's most important railroad systems.

In 1848, Morse would say of the struggle to be given the credit for the invention of the telegraph that "I have been so constantly under the necessity of watching the movements of the most unprincipled set of pirates I have ever known, that all my time has been occupied in defense, in putting evidence into something like legal shape that I am the inventor of the Electro-Magnetic Telegraph! Would you have believed it ten years ago that a question could be raised on that subject?" Recognised all over most of the world for his invention from that time on, it wouldn't be until 1871 onwards that his own country began to finally acknowledge the great debt that was owed to this brilliant man. It was held up constantly with ongoing court battles until that time.

Quotes used in this question were obtained from the following site:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_F._B._Morse
6. Samuel Morse was finally able to secure a backer for his invention to be utilised for public use by a far-sighted congressman from Maine. Who was he?

Answer: Francis Smith

Smith (1806-1876) served three terms during the 1830s in the United States House of Representatives. One of these was on their Committee of Commerce. Morse approached him, seeking his support for financial backing from Congress to have the telegraph implemented for public use. When Washington knocked this back, the far-sighted Smith offered to become Morse's backer himself in return for a quarter interest share. He also became the partnership's promotional agent as well. His influence eventually secured the financial input from Washington that was needed for the project to establish a link between Washington and Baltimore in 1844. Smith became the partnership's contractor for this work, and for the follow-up implementation of the link between New York and Boston.

From there it went from New England to Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana, Buffalo, Cleveland, Chicago, Detroit and Milwaukee. Smith, however, secured the patent for most of this latter work for himself. He then planned to take the telegraph far further west, but failed in this. He next attempted to extend further into the eastern seaboard, but met problems here because Morse had the majority interest in the main line there. It seemed it may have all got somewhat nasty. He then tried to set up a link south of Morse's main line, but went bankrupt in the process. In later years, Smith played an important role in having news brought from Europe by ships docking in Canada transmitted to the United States.

Information and quotes for this question were obtained from the following site:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Ormand_Jonathan_Smith
7. From the time that the working telegraph had commenced operation in England in the late 1830s, mankind began to toy with the idea of eventually linking up countries separated by oceans as well. How was this to be achieved?

Answer: Undersea cables laid on ocean beds

Samuel Morse first demonstrated that this could be a distinct possibility, when, in 1842, he sent a message from one side of New York harbour to the other. To do this he insulated the wire with tarred hemp and Indian rubber. Charles Wheatstone, back in England, completed a similar experiment across Swansea Bay the following year. Wire insulated by the adhesive substance obtained from the gutta-percha tree in Asia was then successfully demonstrated by a Scottish surgeon.

He had seen this product when he worked overseas and thought the substance would be excellent in the use of surgical instruments. By 1850, trials were held using this excellent new product on underwater lines between Dover and Calais, and then between two towns separated by the Rhine river in Germany. Gutta-percha was not replaced as insulating material for underwater cables until 1930 - with the invention of polyethylene.
8. When the first underwater cables were laid across the English channel in 1850, how were they installed?

Answer: By ship

This first intercontinental cable was simply a matter of coating copper wire with the superior insulating product, gutta-percha. A large hulk, carrying the cable, was then towed across the English Channel, unloading the cable as it went. The following year, a link was created between England and Ireland, and then London and Paris. By 1853, England was linked to the Netherlands as well.

By then, the eyes of the world were turning towards the great oceans, and minds were dwelling on the possibility of links between all the world's continents becoming a reality.
9. By 1858, the first trans-ocean underwater cable was installed. Which ocean did it cross?

Answer: Atlantic

At that stage in the development of underwater cabling, technology hadn't advanced far enough for the project to be successful - and it only lasted a month. However, it had demonstrated that the idea was feasible. That's so amazing when one considers that only twenty years prior to this, the first overland messages were only being transmitted a few hundred yards. Between 1865 and 1866, the world's first successful underwater cable linking two great nations was installed - and Samuel Morse, the man who had started it all, was still alive.

This great inventor died in 1872. We are an amazing race and capable of so much more - as long as we don't kill ourselves with the very technology we invent first.
10. So we progress. Telephone, radio, television and the internet have now also added to society's means of transmitting information to individuals - and then came the advent of satellites. Is it true that by the turn of the 21st century satellite links accounted for 90% of the world's international communications?

Answer: No

In fact, and this may astonish you, by the year 2006, satellite links only accounted for one percent of international communication. The other 99% was still more efficiently carried out by those underwater cables. They're very dear to maintain, but they're far more reliable and much, much faster than those little overhead satellites we see twinkling across our skies every night.

Still, don't settle back comfortably in your chairs and think mankind has progressed as far as it can go. That will never be the case.
Source: Author Creedy

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor WesleyCrusher before going online.
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