Everything You Never Knew You Wanted to Know About Berlin
While the whole world is anxiously waiting for the next edition of the IPhone, IPad or another indecently overpriced electronic gadget, let us go back to the days when running a cable to send some knock-knock signals between two cities was the latest scream.
Werner Siemens and his colleague and partner Johann Georg Halske, the owners of Telegraph Bau-Anstalt von Siemens & Halske receive an order for building the very first telegraph line between Prussia´s capital, Berlin and Frankfurt am Main in Hessia.
At the time Frankfurt am Main was the seat of the National Assembly, the first freely elected parliament for the whole of Germany. Since May 8th 1848 it was on session in Frankfurt´s Paulskirche and the MPs were getting prepared for the election of the future emperor – Kaiser – of the Deutsche Reich, a constitutional monarchy that was to replace the old German Confederation.
Siemens and Halske were made responsible for installing a new type of a telegraph, known as Siemens pointer telegraph (Zeigertelegraph) to guarantee the fastest possible communication between Prussian king and the parliament in Frankfurt. By the way, their telegraph was an improved version of Charles Wheatstone´s invention and was granted a patent in Germany in 1847, only a week after the both engineers set up their company.
The distance of almost 600 km, the longest telegraph line in Europe then, was covered quickly and the project got completed right in time for the big event. It was over this line that on March 28th 1849 Friedrich Wilhelm IV received the news of the assembly having elected him as the future Kaiser of the new German empire. The king kindly declined the offer.
Werner Siemens, engineer and inventor and Johann Halske, mechanical engineer responsible for bringing Siemens´ designs to life must have been nevertheless extremely proud and relieved. Their little company in the backyard of the house in Schöneberger Strasse 19 in Berlin-Kreuzberg made its first step towards conquering the world.