All at sea: a history of maritime communications

Titanic's Marconi apparatus

Titanic’s Marconi apparatus

Communication is something that has been around since the dawn of life. Animals and plants use many different methods of communicating with each other, using sounds, smells and other signals.

Before the discovery of electromagnetic fields and electricity, humans communicated using direct speech, semaphore or hand signals. Semaphore signalling, devised by Lord George Murray, uses six shutters, two vertical rows of three – on a white background. By changing the pattern of the black and white stripes of the shutters, words and sentences could be spelled out to communicate between ships. Continue reading