A morse code love affair versus EHarmony

Today, if you type online dating into google, 140, 000, 000 search results will show up. Today, adding someone on Facebook or sending them a text message seems reason enough to pursue a romantic relationship. Today, men and women are thrown together informally, whether it be co-ed schooling and accommodation, or small begrimed nightclubs in every town and city. During the 19th century, what has become known to be the Morse Code Love Affair reveals how dot-dash romance was purely just an archaic form of online dating. Although social constraint and courtesy in the 19thC was quite substantially more prominent than it is today, women would still go through the same phases as much as they would in the present day. Is the man I have pictured in my head going to be the same man that I will one day meet?


The social normality’s that we attribute to today’s technological age were first practiced and observed during the era of the telegraph. Its cables spanned continents and oceans, it revolutionized business practice, gave rise to new forms of crimes as well we inundate its users with an abundance of new information. Most impressively, the telegraph enabled romance to blossom. Yes, todays EHarmony was yesterday’s telegraph. In many ways, our society are heirs of the 1900’s telegraph. Telegraphy was one of the first technological occupations that were open to women, and especially during years of war, there were even more positions available due to men being sent off to fight.

Though love is just one aspect of the everyday time of a human being, the telegraph was a key invention to the industrial age. In a nutshell, the telegraph shrunk the world faster than ever before. Previously, letters took hours, days and sometimes months to arrive at the destination, and in a lot of cases, meant that the information that it held had become irrelevant. As the telegraph developed from 1809 through to 1880, people were connecting with each other from all across the globe just by pressing a few buttons. This held many benefits in itself, just as the present day internet does. People were able to keep in contact with friends and family, lovers were able to either produce a relationship or keep one from failing due to distance, businesses were able to flourish under new practices and people had access to all kinds of new and interesting information that encouraged further enlightenment models.


Miller, R. 2012, “The Telegraph, Newspapers, and 19th-Century Disruption”, EContent, vol. 35, no. 4, pp. 32.

Standage, T 1998, The Victorian Internet: The Remarkable Story, Bloomsbury, New York.

Waterlow, L 2013, ‘’Suppose that Mysterious Stranger is Not What You think…’: Morse Code Love Affair Between 1880’s Telegraph Operators Reveals How Hot Dash Romance Was An Early Version of Modern Online Dating’, Daily Mail, 26 July, Viewed 9/4/15 <http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2378705/Wired-Love-Romantic-novel-telegraph-operators-written-1880-astonishing-parallels-todays-online-dating.html>


One thought on “A morse code love affair versus EHarmony

  1. I think you have picked a really interesting example to discuss the evolution of technology and social interaction. You provide a great summary of the Telegraph and note the transition from the telegraph to the internet clearly. I couldn’t imagine having to wait so long for a response to a message, and sadly I also think that today we rely way too much on technology in order to maintain social interactions with family and peers. I think it would have been interesting to investigate how many people actually had access to the telegraph, for example, did each household own one like today’s household ownership of computers? I think you made a great post regardless!

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