Samuel Morse: a man, an artist, and an inventor. He knew as a childhood love, he was an
artist. But the thing he did not know was that out of his love of art and curiosity would come
an invention. His invention, now obsolete, was a great weapon of war and means of
communication for everyone. Born April 27, 1791, in Charleston, Mass. Morse was the
oldest son of Rev. Jedidiah Morse and Elizabeth Ann Breese. From early on in his
childhood he had a talent in his art. At the age of eight Morse was taken to Phillips
Academy, where his father was a trustee. He was taken to Phillips Academy, where his
father was a trustee. He was unhappy under their rule, and twice as homesick, so he fled
back to Charleston. He entered Yale at 1805, was called home, and did not graduate till
1810. His classmates at Yale admired his art, and he was unknown for his miniatures in
ivory. After his graduation all he wanted to do was study art. His father opposed the idea.
That was the start of all his work.
Hard work had its rewards. His first achievement was of his first love…. Art! Morse
modeled a figure of Hercules in clay. A professor liked it so much, he told Morse to enter it
in a competition. He won the gold medal. Morse submitted another painting, and it was
among the top nine out of the thousands in the exhibit. He returned to Boston hoping to sell
his art. He went through many years before he came the well-known portrait painter.
Socially Morse was successful, but people visited his studio to see his art, but not buy it.
As a young artist in London, he disdained portrait painting. Portraits are all Americans
would buy. Morse wanted to do more then paint portraits. He wanted to do historical
pictures. There his love for art deflated.
Morse became interested in telegraph in 1832. There was lots of work to do. The work
wasn’t easy, and he did know how long it would be till Congress accepted. Morse had no
money so he couldn’t buy insulated wire. After five years of work, he was ready to
demonstrate the telegraph. He hoped the men who saw it would like it and invest. Those
who did see it found it amusing but did not invest. Watching the demonstration was a
university student Alfred Vail. His father and brother had an iron and brass work. Vail
promised to build a sturdier model of the telegraph, so Morse made him a partner. In 1838,
Morse took the new telegraph to Washington to get money from the Congress to test it.
They refused. In 1842 he prepared a dramatic presentation. Using tar, pitch, and rubber, he
waterproofed two miles of wire. He strung the rope underwater. In front of crowds, a ship
caught the line and cut it. In 1843 he made one more attempt to interest Congress. They
passed a 30,000 bill to test it. On May 24, 1844 Morse tapped out his famous message,
“What hath God wrought.” Within twelve years Morse and his telegraph were known
throughout the United States and Europe. Telegraph companies gave banquets to Morse.
Morse won wealth and fame. A group of European countries gave him a cash reward of
400,000 francs. Morse was an honorary member of society. At that time he made an effort
to paint but saw the skill was left. Telegraph operators of America gave him the honor of
unveiling a statue of him. His health was now failing. The statue was unveiled on June 10,
1871; he died the next year.
Morse: the inventor whose death was commemorated. Though his invention is now
obsolete, he remains the greatest figure in the history of telegraph. Recognizing him as an
artist has come slowly. He was the long time forgotten painter. In the minds of people of his
time, he was a great speaker, a quack maybe. He spoke of his dream and made it happen.
Morse was a long motivated man. Never stopping, never giving up. Only improving his
device, till he got personal and world satisfaction. A man many people should look to, to
see why you should never give up. That is why he is still in the minds of Congress today.
He is forgotten role model of people. He never did or could get enough recognition. Just
improving the world a little more. Samuel Morse: a man, an artist, an inventor, and a
quack; also a man of dreams. He is “The Forgotten Painter.”