Couriers/Runners and Mail Systems

The concept of networking to communicate and share information is neither new or limited to computers. Th earliest need to develop networks was the need to bridge distances and communicate beyond the line of sight. The need for a network system was primarily a military one. A well known example is of the Romans, who built some of the earliest networks, with a road system that facilitated the rapid exchange of information by messengers.

During ancient times only government and military officials could use the postal system. Everyone else had to hire their own courier to delivers a letter to another person. Eventually, as cultures grew, they created systems of post that allowed people to purchase a route for their communication.

Morse Code

Samuel Morse invented a system of text that used dots and dashes to represent letters through electronic light and sound over distance. "What hath God wrought" was the very first Morse code message sent via Morse code and it was sent from Washington to Baltimore. Many ships used it also as a distress signal initially. The speed of Morse code can equal about 30 words per minute to experienced transmitters. A distress signal of SOS is transmitted as "dot, dot, dot, dot, dash, dash, dash, dot, dot, dot" in Morse code.

Pony Express

The Pony Express began in 1860 on April 3. The purpose of this express system was to communicate in the settling of the Great West in the United States to make the transmission of news about the Civil War travel quickly. Only the fastest of horses (generally, a Mustang pony) could travel such distances over poor-to-no road conditions. Men rode ponies with saddlebags of mail in a type of relay, covering approximately 2,000 miles from St. Joseph, Missouri, to Sacramento, California. A trip of this kind for a saddlebag of mail took almost 10 days from the east to west, and almost 12 days from west to east, with the relay of riders covering about 250 miles a day.

By the end of its use, the Pony Express had over 100 relay stations, about 80 riders and close to 500 horses employed. When the Pacific Telegraph was complete in October of 1861, the service had been used for just over a year and a half. Because it was never financially successful, the men that created the system eventually went bankrupt.

Messenger Birds

Homing pigeons have been used to carry small messages when necessary. The Egyptians and Persians trained and used carrier pigeons over 3,000 years ago. Also many Middle East countries used pigeons to carry messages. There are a lot of theories about how pigeons can navigate easily. Some think it is the magnetic field of the earth and others think that pigeons use odors they can detect in the atmosphere.

Some research also indicates that homing pigeons navigate by following roads and other man made features. Homing pigeons were also used in World War II when radio wasn't available.


Text: Trenton

Banner: Bailey B and Tristen J

Internet Credits:

Our team:
Gimnazjum #4, Gdynia, Poland
St. Mark's Senior Second. School,
Meera Bagh, New Delhi, India

St. Paul Lutheran School, Farmington, USA

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