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Wheatstone and Cooke Cooke & Wheatstone

The British fathers of the electrical telegraph were William Cooke and Professor Charles Wheatstone.

The relationship was different from the more usual 'poor inventor/rich sponsor' found elsewhere. Cooke was the 'go-getter' - a major in the Indian Army who saw the business application of the telegraph and the opportunity to improve on the prototypes he'd seen in Germany. Wheatstone had the funds and the contacts - but was also more of a scientist with a successful track record in research and discovery. So Cooke provided the impulse, while Wheatstone provided the scientific credibility and the support.

They really didn't like each other, Cooke was jealous of Wheatstone, who in turn despised his partner for his lack of scientific background.

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...