1865 Paris

The Birth of the Union

image of 1865 Paris

On 17 May 1865, after two-and-a-half months of negotiations, the first real International Telegraph Convention was signed in Paris by its 20 founding members, thus creating the International Telegraph Union (predecessor of ITU). This first international convention provided a framework to standardize telegraphy equipment, set uniform operating instructions and laid down common international tariff and accounting rules. This publication describes the environment that led to the founding of ITU in 1865 and provides a fascinating look at the world of communications technologies 150 years ago and how many of the challenges that led to its creation remain today.



The electric telegraph: The first national networks

Electricity’s use in technology began in the mid-19th century, greatly expanding mankind’s capacity and scope for practical achievement. Nowhere was this seen more dramatically than through the invention of the electric telegraph. Experiments were conducted in sending electric signals and telegraph lines soon linked major towns in many countries; man’s ageold quest for more rapid and effective ways to communicate over distance had reached a life-changing new level.


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