Imagine if you can that you live in the southern state of Georgia shortly after the revolutionary war. Your parents live in Virginia and you want to send a letter to your father. Well there is a new United States postal system so you write your letter and your father gets it in three to four weeks. The early US Postal Service was concentrated in the major cities so if you lived in the rural areas service tended to be on a weekly schedule. A postal rider would ride a route once a week picking up and delivering mail. Travel was by riverboat, horse, horse carriage, sailing ship, or foot. To travel from Savannah, Ga. To New York, NY; by sailing ship took one to two weeks, by horse or horse carriage took two to four weeks. These lengthy travel and transportation times lead to a slower more agrarian lifestyle centered on the cities.
Next in the 1820s came the railroad expansion. The railroads created easier travel between the towns along their routes. You could now send a letter from Georgia to Virginia in about a week. Then Samuel Morse in 1838 developed his telegraph system and the Morse Code. Now communication from Georgia to Virginia took minutes to an hour depending on the speed of the telegrapher and amount of message traffic. The postal system was still widely used due to privacy issues with the telegraph. General news traveled fast and now newspapers were able to be timelier with news from other areas of the country.
The next major communication advance was the invention of the telephone in the late 1870 generally credited to Alexander Graham Bell. It allowed for almost instant voice communication limited only to the availability of the wires and telephone equipment. Now you could have a conversation to someone anywhere in the United States limited only by the phone lines. The telephone companies grew quickly and by the early 1900s telephones were becoming common. Technologies lead to better equipment. The fax machine, early computers, and finally the internet all improved communications. A person can now talk to someone across the globe while being able to see them. As our technology advances so does the speed and ease of communication; making for an exciting future. Who knows maybe soon we will be able to beam to the other side of the planet like in Star Trek. See you in the Future; “Beam me up.”