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Schillings Telegraph equipment

Schilling, Baron Pavel Lvovich von (1786-1837)

Pavel Schilling was a Russian engineer who created the first electromagnetic telegraph.

Schilling was actually born Paul Constadt, Baron von Schilling, but became popular across Russia by his more familiar names, however. He found his inspiration to invent while working abroad at the Russian Embassy in Munich.

There he witnessed electricity for the first time and, in no time, developed a way to detonate explosives from a distance, using electric wires. In 1813-1814, he returned home to fight against Napoleon's army which he did with great distinction. Once discharged from the army, he went to Paris eager to continue his experiments. In fact he expanded his ideas to cover electric mines, telegraphy, cryptography, lithography, cables and Oriental Studies.

Telegraphy became his big passion. He had seen the electric telegraph and learned about Oersted's discovery of electromagnetism, spending the next twenty years looking for a workable telegraphic system. He finally launched his prototype in 1828, only to have the ideas 'appropriated' by William Cooke.

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.

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