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Baudot portrait Baudot, Emile (1845-1903)

Emile Baudot invented a new telegraph code, machine, and printer to allow more than one message to be sent on a single wire at the same time.

Baudot began life working on his father's farm but he didn't enjoy being a farmer, and joined France's Administration of Posts and Telegraphs in 1869.

Existing telegraph systems could only send one message at a time. Baudot's new system was based on a revolutionary technique that allowed multiple operators to send messages down the same wire simultaneously. The first live tests were made between Paris and Bordeaux in 1877, radically improving the speed of the traffic. Since then, communication speed has been measured in 'baud' rates (named after Baudot).

The invention earned him the gold medal at the 1878 Universal Exhibition and pretty soon the machine was used across Europe. Baudot spent the rest of his life tirelessly improving his machine, and died after a long illness following a stroke.

fun and games

Can you beat our games? Explode equipment to see what's inside, hear the changing sounds of telecommunications, see how telecommunications designs have changed over time or send an e-postacard.

what's on

The UK's first permanent gallery dedicated to the history of information and communication technologies opens in the new Information Age gallery at London’s Science Museum.

audio history

Take a trip down memory lane with extracts of the interviews which have been recorded as part of the Connected Earth oral history programme.

featured story

100 years of automatic switching!
In 1912 the GPO installed Britain's first automatic telephone exchange in Epsom.

Discover the early days of the telephone...