Morse Code was invented by Samuel F. B. Morse (1791-1872), a painter and founder of the National Academy of Design. He conceived the basic idea of an electromagnetic telegraph in 1832, and produced the first working telegraph set in 1836. This made transmission possible over any distance. The first Morse Code message, "What hath God wrought?", was sent from Washington to Baltimore.
Today experienced operators copy received text without the need to write as they receive, and when transmitting, can easily converse at 20 to 30 words per minute. Morse Code will always remain a viable means of providing highly reliable communications during difficult communications conditions.
Morse Code can be transmitted using sound or light, as sometimes happens between ships at sea. It is used in emergencies to transmit distress signals when no other form of communication is available.
Since December 2003, Morse Code has included the @ symbol: it is a combination of a and c: --- and is the first change to the system since before World War II.