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A Telegraphic Question

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  • Bill Bruner
    I read this in Sherman s Memoirs: So on the field a thin insulated wire may be run on improvised stakes or from tree to tree for six or more miles in a couple
    Message 1 of 14 , Dec 24, 2006
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      I read this in Sherman's Memoirs:

      So on the field a thin insulated wire may be run on improvised stakes
      or from tree to tree for six or more miles in a couple of hours, and I
      have seen operators so skillful, that by cutting the wire they would
      receive a message with their tongues from a distant station.

      Does mean what it seems to mean? I can barely conceive of it. Would
      I be safe to cite this, receiving a message from a bare wire placed on
      the tongue, without making a fool of myself?

      Bill Bruner
    • keeno2@aol.com
      In a message dated 12/24/2006 10:30:02 AM Central Standard Time, banbruner@bellsouth.net writes: Does mean what it seems to mean? I can barely conceive of it.
      Message 2 of 14 , Dec 24, 2006
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        In a message dated 12/24/2006 10:30:02 AM Central Standard Time, banbruner@... writes:
        Does mean what it seems to mean?  I can barely conceive of it.  Would I be safe to cite this, receiving a message from a bare wire placed on the tongue, without making a fool of myself?
        Could be Bill. Depends on your sensitivity.I've seen those who deal with small voltages -- thermostats, telephones, presumably the telegraph, etc. -- check the current on their tongue. I would likely make a fool of myself, but I understand that it's no more than a tickle. I'm not about to find out, but I have seen it done.
        Ken
      • Carl Williams
        certainly in those days they were unable to get much voltage. I don t think a generator had been invented yet? Crude batteries, I believe, were used.
        Message 3 of 14 , Dec 26, 2006
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          certainly in those days they were unable to get much voltage. I don't
          think a generator had been invented yet? Crude batteries, I believe,
          were used.
        • Bill Bruner
          Ken and Carl, thank you for your response. I have known some ditty boppers in my time that if they could feel the dits and dahs on their tongue would have
          Message 4 of 14 , Dec 26, 2006
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            Ken and Carl, thank you for your response. I have known some ditty
            boppers in my time that if they could feel the dits and dahs on their
            tongue would have easily been able to copy it.

            I am a bit embarrassed about my ignorance on the technical aspects of
            this subject I should know and perhaps once did. I think my main
            question is whether it is possible to get current after the line is
            broken. I would think that you would need a complete circuit for
            current to flow. Did placing the bare wire of the broken line on a
            moist tongue complete the circuit?

            Bill Bruner


            --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "Carl Williams" <carlw4514@...>
            wrote:
            >
            > certainly in those days they were unable to get much voltage. I don't
            > think a generator had been invented yet? Crude batteries, I believe,
            > were used.
            >
          • Carl Williams
            The voltaic pile, a type of battery, would seem to be what I have read powered these civil war telegraphs. However, I stand corrected in that electromagnetic
            Message 5 of 14 , Dec 26, 2006
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              The 'voltaic pile,' a type of battery, would seem to be what I have
              read powered these civil war telegraphs. However, I stand corrected in
              that electromagnetic generators had been invented; thus I could be wrong.

              Certainly a wet tongue can complete a circuit! A common 9 volt battery
              has the positive and negative poles next to each other on the same
              side of the battery. Ever stick one of those on your tongue? The
              effect is harmless but quite unpleasant.

              --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "Bill Bruner" <banbruner@...> wrote:
              >
              > Ken and Carl, thank you for your response. I have known some ditty
              > boppers in my time that if they could feel the dits and dahs on their
              > tongue would have easily been able to copy it.
              >
              > I am a bit embarrassed about my ignorance on the technical aspects of
              > this subject I should know and perhaps once did. I think my main
              > question is whether it is possible to get current after the line is
              > broken. I would think that you would need a complete circuit for
              > current to flow. Did placing the bare wire of the broken line on a
              > moist tongue complete the circuit?
              >
              > Bill Bruner
              >
            • keeno2@aol.com
              In a message dated 12/26/2006 8:15:45 AM Central Standard Time, banbruner@bellsouth.net writes: Did placing the bare wire of the broken line on a moist tongue
              Message 6 of 14 , Dec 26, 2006
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                In a message dated 12/26/2006 8:15:45 AM Central Standard Time, banbruner@... writes:
                Did placing the bare wire of the broken line on a moist tongue complete the circuit?
                Venturing onto thin ice, but here goes. We're talking a weak DC current, It doesn't always have to complete a circuit. In the telegraph, it had only to activate an electromagnet/solenoid type gadget to generate a click. The dry fingers might not feel enough to read the speed of the clicks, whereas a moist tongue would be a perfectly sensitiver way to receive a clearer -- having the moisture to pass the current and the sensitivity to feel it deninitively.
                Ken
              • PvtUpScope@aol.com
                Bill Completing the circuit.--- No, touching ones tongue onto a lose end would not complete the circuit. What they did was hold one loose end in one hand and
                Message 7 of 14 , Dec 26, 2006
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                  Bill
                   
                  Completing the circuit.---
                  No, touching ones tongue onto a lose end would not complete the circuit.
                  What they did was hold one loose end in one hand and
                  then with the other hand, touch the other loose end to their tongue.
                  This then would complete the circuit and they could feel the resistance
                  variance of each dash and dot with their tongue. Totally feasible.
                   
                  wrbranham
                • Carl Williams
                  I was assuming you would be touching both ends of the cut line to the tongue [I guess one line in the hand is better]... no way you would have a true complete
                  Message 8 of 14 , Dec 26, 2006
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                    I was assuming you would be touching both ends of the cut line to the
                    tongue [I guess one line in the hand is better]... no way you would
                    have a true complete circuit otherwise, although there is this thing
                    of 'grounding' perhaps.

                    --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, PvtUpScope@... wrote:
                    >
                    > Bill
                    >
                    > Completing the circuit.---
                    > No, touching ones tongue onto a lose end would not complete the
                    circuit.
                    > What they did was hold one loose end in one hand and
                    > then with the other hand, touch the other loose end to their tongue.
                    > This then would complete the circuit and they could feel the resistance
                    > variance of each dash and dot with their tongue. Totally feasible.
                    >
                    > wrbranham
                    >
                  • Tony Gunter
                    ... circuit. ... resistance ... Actually, I ve had this conversation before with a telegraph expert, in reference to Civil War spying, and had to go look it up
                    Message 9 of 14 , Dec 27, 2006
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                      --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, PvtUpScope@... wrote:
                      >
                      > Bill
                      >
                      > Completing the circuit.---
                      > No, touching ones tongue onto a lose end would not complete the
                      circuit.
                      > What they did was hold one loose end in one hand and
                      > then with the other hand, touch the other loose end to their tongue.
                      > This then would complete the circuit and they could feel the
                      resistance
                      > variance of each dash and dot with their tongue. Totally feasible.
                      >
                      > wrbranham

                      Actually, I've had this conversation before with a telegraph expert, in
                      reference to Civil War spying, and had to go look it up to make sure
                      what the answer was. The telegraph "circuit" basically was a single
                      wire that ran from voltage to, literally, ground. So placing one's
                      tongue on an exposed wire (most telegraph wire in the civil war was
                      uninsulated) and standing on the ground would complete the circuit.

                      The same guy sent me a picture of a telegraph "bugging" set. Bugging a
                      a telegraph line was ridiculously easy: one wire flung over the
                      uninsulated telegraph line, and one stuck in the ground. So basically,
                      anything important was encrypted. I can post the pic of the set here
                      if anyone is interested.
                    • Tony Gunter
                      ... tongue. ... expert, in ... sure ... single ... Bugging a ... basically, ... here ... I also found this reference of reading a telegraph line with one s
                      Message 10 of 14 , Dec 27, 2006
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                        --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "Tony Gunter" <tony_gunter@...>
                        wrote:
                        >
                        > --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, PvtUpScope@ wrote:
                        > >
                        > > Bill
                        > >
                        > > Completing the circuit.---
                        > > No, touching ones tongue onto a lose end would not complete the
                        > circuit.
                        > > What they did was hold one loose end in one hand and
                        > > then with the other hand, touch the other loose end to their
                        tongue.
                        > > This then would complete the circuit and they could feel the
                        > resistance
                        > > variance of each dash and dot with their tongue. Totally feasible.
                        > >
                        > > wrbranham
                        >
                        > Actually, I've had this conversation before with a telegraph
                        expert, in
                        > reference to Civil War spying, and had to go look it up to make
                        sure
                        > what the answer was. The telegraph "circuit" basically was a
                        single
                        > wire that ran from voltage to, literally, ground. So placing one's
                        > tongue on an exposed wire (most telegraph wire in the civil war was
                        > uninsulated) and standing on the ground would complete the circuit.
                        >
                        > The same guy sent me a picture of a telegraph "bugging" set.
                        Bugging a
                        > a telegraph line was ridiculously easy: one wire flung over the
                        > uninsulated telegraph line, and one stuck in the ground. So
                        basically,
                        > anything important was encrypted. I can post the pic of the set
                        here
                        > if anyone is interested.

                        I also found this reference of reading a telegraph line with one's
                        tongue, in an online bio of Samuel Zook (search the page
                        for "tongue").

                        http://www.gdg.org/Research/OOB/Union/July1-3/szook.html


                        In this instance a surge hit the line with enough power to knock him
                        to the ground.
                      • Bill Bruner
                        ... wrote: Actually, I ve had this conversation before with a telegraph expert, in reference to Civil War spying, and had to go look it up to make sure what
                        Message 11 of 14 , Dec 27, 2006
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                          --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "Tony Gunter" <tony_gunter@...>
                          wrote:
                          Actually, I've had this conversation before with a telegraph expert, in
                          reference to Civil War spying, and had to go look it up to make sure
                          what the answer was. The telegraph "circuit" basically was a single
                          wire that ran from voltage to, literally, ground. So placing one's
                          tongue on an exposed wire (most telegraph wire in the civil war was
                          uninsulated) and standing on the ground would complete the circuit.

                          The same guy sent me a picture of a telegraph "bugging" set. Bugging a
                          a telegraph line was ridiculously easy: one wire flung over the
                          uninsulated telegraph line, and one stuck in the ground. So basically,
                          anything important was encrypted. I can post the pic of the set here
                          if anyone is interested.


                          Thank you, Tony, this is very helpful. I think the reason why I was
                          so skeptical of this story is that I have never seen it done even in
                          the movies. It would really make a great scene.

                          Bill Bruner
                        • Tony Gunter
                          ... the ... feasible. ... one s ... was ... circuit. ... him ... http://www.insulators.com/books/mpet/chap06.htm#para119 Here s an 1881 instruction manual
                          Message 12 of 14 , Dec 27, 2006
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                            --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "Tony Gunter" <tony_gunter@...>
                            wrote:
                            >
                            > --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "Tony Gunter" <tony_gunter@>
                            > wrote:
                            > >
                            > > --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, PvtUpScope@ wrote:
                            > > >
                            > > > Bill
                            > > >
                            > > > Completing the circuit.---
                            > > > No, touching ones tongue onto a lose end would not complete
                            the
                            > > circuit.
                            > > > What they did was hold one loose end in one hand and
                            > > > then with the other hand, touch the other loose end to their
                            > tongue.
                            > > > This then would complete the circuit and they could feel the
                            > > resistance
                            > > > variance of each dash and dot with their tongue. Totally
                            feasible.
                            > > >
                            > > > wrbranham
                            > >
                            > > Actually, I've had this conversation before with a telegraph
                            > expert, in
                            > > reference to Civil War spying, and had to go look it up to make
                            > sure
                            > > what the answer was. The telegraph "circuit" basically was a
                            > single
                            > > wire that ran from voltage to, literally, ground. So placing
                            one's
                            > > tongue on an exposed wire (most telegraph wire in the civil war
                            was
                            > > uninsulated) and standing on the ground would complete the
                            circuit.
                            > >
                            > > The same guy sent me a picture of a telegraph "bugging" set.
                            > Bugging a
                            > > a telegraph line was ridiculously easy: one wire flung over the
                            > > uninsulated telegraph line, and one stuck in the ground. So
                            > basically,
                            > > anything important was encrypted. I can post the pic of the set
                            > here
                            > > if anyone is interested.
                            >
                            > I also found this reference of reading a telegraph line with one's
                            > tongue, in an online bio of Samuel Zook (search the page
                            > for "tongue").
                            >
                            > http://www.gdg.org/Research/OOB/Union/July1-3/szook.html
                            >
                            >
                            > In this instance a surge hit the line with enough power to knock
                            him
                            > to the ground.

                            http://www.insulators.com/books/mpet/chap06.htm#para119

                            Here's an 1881 instruction manual
                          • Tony Gunter
                            ... Oops ... sorry, part of my message was cut off. This manual mentions using your tongue to test for direction of the ground.
                            Message 13 of 14 , Dec 27, 2006
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                              --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "Tony Gunter" <tony_gunter@...>
                              wrote:
                              >
                              >
                              > http://www.insulators.com/books/mpet/chap06.htm#para119
                              >
                              > Here's an 1881 instruction manual
                              >

                              Oops ... sorry, part of my message was cut off. This manual mentions
                              using your tongue to test for direction of the ground.
                            • Dan Giallombardo
                              I am interested. And thank you.---Dan ... tongue. ... expert, in ... sure ... single ... Bugging a ... basically, ... here
                              Message 14 of 14 , Jan 1, 2007
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                                I am interested. And thank you.---Dan

                                --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "Tony Gunter" <tony_gunter@...>
                                wrote:
                                >
                                > --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, PvtUpScope@ wrote:
                                > >
                                > > Bill
                                > >
                                > > Completing the circuit.---
                                > > No, touching ones tongue onto a lose end would not complete the
                                > circuit.
                                > > What they did was hold one loose end in one hand and
                                > > then with the other hand, touch the other loose end to their
                                tongue.
                                > > This then would complete the circuit and they could feel the
                                > resistance
                                > > variance of each dash and dot with their tongue. Totally feasible.
                                > >
                                > > wrbranham
                                >
                                > Actually, I've had this conversation before with a telegraph
                                expert, in
                                > reference to Civil War spying, and had to go look it up to make
                                sure
                                > what the answer was. The telegraph "circuit" basically was a
                                single
                                > wire that ran from voltage to, literally, ground. So placing one's
                                > tongue on an exposed wire (most telegraph wire in the civil war was
                                > uninsulated) and standing on the ground would complete the circuit.
                                >
                                > The same guy sent me a picture of a telegraph "bugging" set.
                                Bugging a
                                > a telegraph line was ridiculously easy: one wire flung over the
                                > uninsulated telegraph line, and one stuck in the ground. So
                                basically,
                                > anything important was encrypted. I can post the pic of the set
                                here
                                > if anyone is interested.
                                >
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