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Cooke, Sir William Fothergill (1806-1879) : the force behind the telegraph
William Cooke created the first working telegraph in Britain, and invented the five-needle telegraph system with his partner Charles Wheatstone.

After eight years of military service with the East India Company, he left to study anatomy....
Calahan, Edward Augustin (1838-1912)
In 1867 Edward Calahan invented the first machine to print out the price of stocks and shares over telegraph wires.

Before the machine arrived, young men called runners had to dash from the Stock Exchange to their offices to report the changes in share values....
Cerf, Vint (born 1943)
Vinton Gray Cerf was co-designer of the mechanisms known as TCP/IP that enabled the Internet's capability to be used by everybody.

Cerf dreamt of becoming a scientist as a ten year-old boy in California, after being inspired by the book 'The Boy Scientist'....
Chappe, Claude (1763-1805) : a fast shutter speed
Claude Chappe invented the first practical visual telegraph. Known as the semaphore, it used large wooden arms to spell out words and messages.

Chappe was the grandson of a French baron and spent a dual life as both an engineer and a cleric....
Clarke, Arthur C. (1917-2008) : creating science without the fiction
Arthur C Clarke is a visionary science-fiction writer who suggested the principles for the 'geostationary' communication satellites that now orbit the earth but stay in exactly the same position above it.

Moving to London from Somerset in 1936, he joined the British Interplanetary Society where he started to consider astronautics in detail, which led to writing science-fiction books....
Cooke & Wheatstone : an unusual combination
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....
Crowther, William (born 1936)
Will Crowther developed an interactive computer game in the 1970s based on an adventure in a cave.

During the 1970s Crowther was for Bolt, Beranek and Newman. He was part of the original ARPANET development team.
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...