April 27 ~ Exhaustless Store For the Imagination American Leonardo

"As the bee gathers her sweets for winter, we shall have rich material...an exhaustless store for the imagination to feed on." ~ Samuel F. B. Morse

Samuel F. B. Morse

A man of great imagination, American inventor and artist Samuel Finley Breese Morse (17911872) was born on this day in the small town of Charlestown, Massachusetts.

He graduated from Yale and studied art in Europe, where as a young man he gathered critical acclaim for painting portraits of John Adams and James Monroe.

Curious and a brilliant, keen observer, Morse invented a sculpting machine in 1822 which cut marble into three-dimensional figures.

On a voyage home from Europe in 1832, he became interested in the idea of electromagnetic communication and created a dot-and-dash code system that would eventually become his famed Morse Code.

"I still have an Artist's heart, while deprived by long disuse of an artist's skill," he once wrote.

Granted an American telegraph patent in 1840, four years later he sent the first electric telegraph message from from the Supreme Court in Washington, DC, to a railroad depot in Baltimore, Maryland: "What hath God wrought?" Long-distance communication was born!

"It is an astonishing invention," Morse said.

Ten years later, telegraph companies had strung 23,000 miles of cable, with the first transcontinental link completed in 1861. The telegraph became a vital tool for both the Union and Confederate forces during the Civil War.

Portraits, sculpting machines, and the telegraph were not enough. Morse also learned about daguerreotype, the first photographic process from its inventor, Louis Daguerre in Paris then published the first American description of the process and became one of the first to make daguerreotypes in the U.S.

Let your imagination go!