Harrison Gray Dyar Built a Telegraph Line in 1828 Using Glass Insulators on Long Island

[Trade Journal]

Publication: The Telegraphic Journal and Electrical Review

London, England
vol. 3, no. 53, p. 87, col. 2



Another old electrician has been taken away in the 69th year of his age.


Residing in Europe from 1831 to 1858, and, since that year, in retirement in the United States, Mr. Dyar was comparatively unknown to the present generation, but in 1826-27 he became widely known by his experiments in the then mysterious and unknown paths which afterwards developed the electric telegraph. He anticipated Morse in the introduction of the telegraph into America. In 1828 he erected a line of iron wire on wooden posts with glass insulators, at the old Union Race Course, on Long Island, which he worked successfully with static electricity (the constant battery not having at that time been discovered), the currents transmitted discolouring litmus paper, which was placed in the circuit upon a moving disc or table. We have no record of the length of this line, but the results obtained were deemed so satisfactory that it was determined to build a line from New York to Philadelphia. This project was, however, abandoned, owing to disagreements which arose between his associates and himself. Mr. Dyar had amassed ample fortune from his scientific pursuits in Europe, which was largely augmented by real estate investments in the City of New York. Personally he was a gentleman of refined and studious tastes. He was born at Boston, Mass., in 1805. He died in Rhinebeck, N.Y., on January 31st, 1875.


Keywords:Glass Insulator : First Insulator : Harrison G. Dyar
Researcher notes: 
Supplemental information:Article: 9047
Researcher:Elton Gish
Date completed:October 21, 2009 by: Elton Gish;