Samuel Morse Fact File: Lifespan: 1791 – 1872 *** Full Name: Samuel Finlay Breese Morse *** Occupation: American Inventor and Painter *** Date of Birth: Samuel Morse was born on April 27th 1791 *** Place of Birth: Samuel Morse was born in Charlestown, Massachusetts, USA *** Family background: His father was Jedidiah Morse, a pastor as well as a geographer and his mother was Elizabeth Ann Finley Breese. His father was a preacher of the Calvinist faith and supported the American Federalist party *** Early life and childhood: He grew up in Charlestown with his parents together with several siblings, of which two were brothers, Sidney and Richard *** Education: Samuel Morse attended Phillips Academy in Andover followed by Yale College where he subjects in religious philosophy as well as mathematics and the science of horses. To assist with his financial costs he supplemented his income with painting and graduated in 1810 ***
Samuel Morse Fact 1: Samuel Morse was born on April 27th 1791 and during the 18th century period in history when France and America both went through revolutions and the Industrial Revolution began in Britain.
Samuel Morse Fact 2: Paintings such as Landing of the Pilgrims showed Morse expressing his Calvinist beliefs.
Samuel Morse Fact 3: His work attracted the attention of Washington Allston another artist of some note who wished Morse to accompany him to England where he wanted to arrange for a meeting between Morse and Benjamin West.
Samuel Morse Fact 4: The trip together with the time to study under West was going to take around three years and the West and Morse set sail for England on July 15th, 1811 aboard the Lybia.
Samuel Morse Fact 5: Allston maintained a close eye on Morse and by the end of the year Morse had secured a place at the Royal Academy.
Samuel Morse Fact 6: Whilst attending the Royal Academy he observed life drawing and well as find the Renaissance period of great interest and the works of Raphael and Michelangelo.
Samuel Morse Fact 7: It would be at this time that he would create his masterpiece, the Dying Hercules.
Samuel Morse Fact 8: Whilst he as England the British and American’s were engaged in the War of 1812 and it appeared to his father through their correspondence that young Morse was becoming more anti-Federalist in his views at that time.
Samuel Morse Fact 9: Another of his great works produced in England was the Judgment of Jupiter, opinions were divided as to its possible meaning.
Samuel Morse Fact 10: Morse made his return home on August 21st 1815 to take up his career as a full time artist.
Samuel Morse Fact 11: Over the next ten years he worked consistently with a substantial growth in his production and he particularly wanted to capture the life and culture of America.
Samuel Morse Fact 12: Having served Calvinism faithfully for over thirty years, the rift that was forming within forced Morse’s father to leave his ministerial post.
Samuel Morse Fact 13: In 1820 he found himself commissioned to paint the portrait of President James Monroe.
Samuel Morse Fact 14: The following year he moved to New Haven and was commissioned to paint the portrait of the Marquis de Lafayette.
Samuel Morse Fact 15: Together with painting the Hall of Congress he would also be commissioned to paint the House of Representatives in a similar style.
Samuel Morse Fact 16: Between 1830 and 1832 he returned to Europe to progress his painting skills travelling to France, Italy and Switzerland.
Samuel Morse Fact 17: Beside his painting he was also interested invention, never more so than during the period when he was painting the portrait of le Lafayette and he was informed by his father, by a messenger on horseback, that his wife was ill and the following day receiving a missive from his father giving him the terrible news that his wife had died suddenly.
Samuel Morse Fact 18: Although he immediately left Washington D.C. by the time he arrive home, his wife’s body had already been laid to rest and so distraught was he that news had taken too long reach him he began investigating long distance communication options.
Samuel Morse Fact 19: Whilst on his return journey from Europe in 1832 he made the acquaintance of Charles Thomas Jackson from Boston who was keenly involved in electromagnetism and would give Morse the idea of a single wife telegraph. This is tern would lead to Morse’s patent application and the development of Morse code.
Samuel Morse Fact 20: While developing the means to carry a signal for the telegraph more than a mere few hundred yards, Morse, together with the assistance of Professor Leonard Gale (in a theoretical way rather than a practical way), a chemistry teaching at the New York University, developed relays, circuits that enabled the signal to carry over further distances.
Samuel Morse Fact 21: A very generous man he gave much to charity. On April 2nd 1872 Samuel Finlay Breese Morse died in New York City. His body laid to rest at the Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York.
Influence & Legacy: Morse Code would become one of the most widely used forms of communication across long distances. It’s primary use to send text information from one location to another in a series of dots and dashes. It has a long history of being used in times of emergency with the standard use of SOS consisting of three dots, three dashes and three dots (…---…) an internationally recognized distress signal.