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[Articles Home]  [Add Article]  

The Floggings Will Continue Dept...

Peter Dougherty (W2IRT) on March 22, 2003
Website: http://vvv.it.kth.se/docs/early_net/ch-2-9.3.html
View comments about this article!

In times past mis-copying code in Sweden meant consequences a little more severe than a busted call during CQ-WW. This excerpt from the 1809 Swedish penal code may explain why I've always copied good CW from hams in that part of the world...

Full link at http://vvv.it.kth.se/docs/early_net/ch-2-9.3.html

1. Any telegraphist who is negligent, careless, or commits an offense, shall be sternly punished according to the circumstances and the penalty shall be either a fine, arrest, prison with bread and water, flogging, or to run the gauntlet. If these offenses are committed frequently, the penalties will be more severe.

2. Any telegraphist who is not immediately aware of calls or messages from the closest stations, shall be fined 8 Sk. on the first offense, and the fine is subtracted from his allowance.

3. Any telegraphist who commits the same fault more often is fined 16 Sk.

4. Any telegraphist who neglects his watch in any manner shall either be fined 16 Sk., arrested, or be given corporal punishment depending on the circumstances.

5. Any telegraphist who has to be waited for several minutes or who repeats messages slowly shall be punished.

6. Any telegraphist who neglects a watch sign shall be punished.

7. Any telegraphist who arrives late or leaves before his hours are done shall be punished.

8. Any telegraphist who is standing by the control panel when his turn is at the telescope or vice versa, shall be punished.

9. Any telegraphist who puts up the signal 431 (cannot see) when the nearest station can be seen, shall be punished by flogging and, if this happens more often, shall be punished more severely.

10. Any telegraphist who sells his supplies or uses them in such a way that they do not last the prescribed amount of time shall be punished.

11. Any telegraphist who mismanages the telegraph's effects and/or his own equipment shall be punished.

12. Any company officer who commits any of the above mentioned offenses shall either be fined twice the amount, punished more severely, or be degraded to the rank of private.

13. Any telegraphist who performs his duties well shall be promoted.

Member Comments:
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The Floggings Will Continue Dept...  
by LZ1PJ on March 22, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I suspect now there are quite a few guys around that would be sentenced to life prison, hi.
 
The Floggings Will Continue Dept...  
by WB2TPS on March 22, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
1809?
How prescient were the Swedes to enact a law 50 years before the landline technology was invented and 100 years before wireless?
However they did not anticipate the Wouff Houng (circa 1920)
 
RE: The Floggings Will Continue Dept...  
by AE6HR on March 22, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Notice the telescope bit. These laws are probably referring to semaphore code based on flags.
 
RE: The Floggings Will Continue Dept...  
by K8ZO on March 22, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Read number eight. It refers to not being able to see the signals.
 
RE: The Floggings Will Continue Dept...  
by W1RG on March 22, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I believe many countries had extensive systems of visual 'telegraphs' using semaphores, but not flags, for communications. There were large towers with movable arms similar to large railroad semaphore block signals. The arms were positioned from control stations at the base of the towers and 'telegraphists' relayed traffic from one station to the next along the 'circuit'. Worked well if there was no restriction to visibily such as fog or smoke. Peresonally I'd rather copy bad CW in QRM.

FWIW, Gil, W1RG
 
RE: The Floggings Will Continue Dept...  
by K8LEA on March 23, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Gil's correct about the "semaphores". They were popular all over Europe by 1800.... Slow, dependent on weather, etc., but useful.

As a matter of fact (well, _I_ say it's fact [grin]), in ancient Israel, fires were lit on hilltops around the country to signal the beginning of the Sabbath and various holidays. It's said that the reason that most major Jewish holidays are two days long is because the Diaspora (the scattering after the destruction of the first Temple in 586BCE, and again after the Romans destroyed the second Temple) stretched the lines of communications to the point that it wasn't certain which day was correct. So do it twice....

IMHO, the wired telegraph's greatest contribution, besides speed, is that it's somewhat independent of weather, darkness, etc., AND, it doesn't require a station every few miles. That's a serious problem when you're trying to cover long distances, of course - kinda like an optical version of the cellphone....

Come to think of it, "cell towers" were required for the semaphores.... Wire may be cheaper. Nobody seems to have thought about mobile phones in 1800, though....

(Hm.... The Lowellville OH Police Department used to have a red light bulb on the roof of their City Hall. In the event that somebody call for assistance, the Dispatcher would turn on the light, and the Officer on patrol would call in....)

 
The Floggings Will Continue Dept...  
by W6OPINION on March 24, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
For those interested in reading more on the history of morse code, read the book "The Victorian Internet". It will give you some interesting perspective, including the history of the semaphore systems in France that is mentioned here.
 
The Floggings Will Continue Dept...  
by AB9FA on March 24, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
After reading this, I need to turn myself in and beg for mercy!
 
RE: The Floggings Will Continue Dept...  
by K2GW on March 24, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
>>Gil's correct about the "semaphores". They were popular all over Europe by 1800.... Slow, dependent on weather, etc., but useful.

In one of the Horatio Hornblower novels by CS Forrester, Hornblower leads an Royal Navy landing party to burn one of these semaphore towers in Napoleonic France, so as to cover a raid down the coast.

It's kind of like an early nineteenth century equivalent of a precision guided munition taking out a telelphone exchange.

73

Gary, K2GW

 
RE: The Floggings Will Continue Dept...  
by WA9SVD on March 27, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
If flogging is a possible punishment for a miscreant telegapher, I shudder to think the reprisals for an erring telephonist... (LOL!)
 
The Floggings Will Continue Dept...  
by W3EF on March 30, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Yes, this cannot have been about wire telegraphy and morse code, as these were not invented until some 25 years later!

Still, something of a lesson in upholding standards....

Maury W3EF
 
RE: The Floggings Will Continue Dept...  
by K4KIO on March 30, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I believe the Count of Monte Cristo also used the early 19th century French telegraph relay system to send a message from Paris to the coast in his vengeful efforts to wreck the lives of his three persecutors.
 
The Floggings Will Continue Dept...  
by N2HBX on November 25, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Damn! And I thought having my logs disqualified for too many dupes was severe!
 
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