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Telegraphy is the art of remote writing, or the long distance transmission of written messages without physical transport of letters. This defintion generously includes fax, email, and computer networks in general.

The first telegraphs were optical, including the use of smoke signals and beacons, and were already present in ancient times. An electrical telegraph invented in the 1830s by Samuel Morse, who also developed the Morse code signalling alphabet, was quickly deployed in the following two decades. Nikola Tesla and other scientists and inventors showed the usefulness of wireless telegraphy, or radio, beginning in the 1860s.