Effects of Global Communication

Essay by Matt HolmesHigh School, 12th gradeF, January 1997

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With the development of civilisation and written languages came the need for more frequent and reliable methods of communication allowing messages to reach longer distances. This was essential to the control of trade and other affairs between nations and empires.

Early man used cave walls as the media on which messages could be transcribed, this was common for many years, until the Egyptians discovered a special kind of rush (Papyrus) that could be woven to form a portable writing material. In about 105AD the Chinese discovered a way to make a similar substance from wood pulp.

Over the next few centuries printing techniques advanced rapidly, especially through the use of steam power. The first typesetting machine, the Linotype, was patented in 1884 by the German-American Ottmar Mergenthaler.

In the meantime, postal services and moved from being privately to nationally owned, and long distance postal services became an affordable option. For the first time, an ordinary person could correspond with people in other countries.

A visual semaphore system was also implemented in both Europe and the United States, providing a way of 'echoing' messages nationally via large towers placed in strategic positions; however this proved slow as each method had to be verified to ensure message accuracy.

Following the discovery and partial understanding of electricity in the 18th Century scientists looked towards a way of relaying messages electronically. This attracted great interest because of the speed and efficiency such a system would bring, nevertheless it was not until 1837 that the first practical telegraph system was produced. In the years that followed various offshoots were announced, modern telex systems are an improved version of this basic concept.

Now that the basic frontiers of electronics had been broken, telecommunications moved into a new era, in 1876 Alexander Graham Bell patented the...