Émile Baudot

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Émile Baudot : biography

September 11, 1845 – March 28, 1903

In July, 1887, he conducted successful tests on the Atlantic telegraph cable between Weston-super-Mare and Waterville, Nova Scotia operated by the Commercial Company, with a double Baudot installed in duplex, the Baudot transmitters and receivers substituted for the recorder.

On August 8, 1890 he established communications between Paris, Vannes, and Lorient over a single wire. On January 3, 1894 he installed a triplex apparatus on the telegraph between Paris and Bordeaux that had previously been operating with some difficulty on the Hughes telegraph system. On April 27, 1894, he established communications between the Paris stock exchange and the Milan stock exchange, again over a single wire, using his new invention, the retransmitter. The British Post Office adopted the Baudot system in 1897 for a simplex circuit between London and Paris.

In 1897 the Baudot system was improved by switching to punched tape, which was prepared offline like the Morse tape used with the Wheatstone and Creed systems. A tape reader, controlled by the Baudot distributor, then replaced the manual keyboard. The tape had five rows of holes for the code, with a sixth row of smaller holes for transporting the tape through the reader mechanism. Baudot’s code was later standardised as International Telegraph Alphabet Number One.

Baudot received little help from the French Telegraph Administration for his system, and often had to fund his own research, even having to sell the gold medal awarded by the 1878 Exposition Universelle in 1880.

The Baudot telegraph system was employed progressively in France, and then was adopted in other countries, Italy being the first to introduce it, in its inland service, in 1887. Holland followed in 1895, Switzerland in 1896, and Austria and Brazil in 1897. The British Post Office adopted it for a simplex circuit between London and Paris during 1897, then used it for more general purposes from 1898. In 1900 it was adopted by Germany, by Russia in 1904, the British West Indies in 1905, Spain in 1906, Belgium in 1909, Argentina in 1912, and Romania in 1913.