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Description of the Telegraph [caption title above first text leaf]
[Quebec 1809 - (8 7/8 x 5 1/2 inches). Woodcut frontispiece, [4], [24]pp. The fore-edge knotched as issued to create an alphabetical thumb index. Later red morocco backed cloth boards, bound by Sangorski and Sutcliffe, spine lettered in gilt A very rare code book for a semaphoric device designed to allow communication between British stations on the St. Lawrence River. Between 1807 and 1811 Kempt was quartermaster general in British North America, and in 1809 promoted colonel. The preliminary instructions for the operation of this "telegraph" is signed in print by Kempt and dated Quebec, 1st April 1809, suggesting the place and date of publication. Kempt's proposal for telegraphic communication for station to station communication along the river St. Lawrence was relatively simple: words are represented by numbers and the numbers are symbolically represented by slides and hanging balls from lower and upper arms of a pole. The present alphabetically organized code book lists over 3300 words with their respective numbers. Flags would be raised to signal the beginning and end of each message, the message repeated station-to-station along the line. The code book, issued without title, is comprised of a woodcut frontispiece (headed "The Telegraph") followed by a 1p. Description of the Telegraph, 2pp. Instructions for the Use of the Telegraph, 1p. Numerical Alphabet (each letter of the alphabet numbered 1-25, with IJ both as number 9), followed by 24pp. alphabetical vocabularly of numbered words, including numbers without respective words evidently meant to be able to expand the vocabulary as necessary. Very rare: OCLC cites but 3 extant examples (British Library, American Antiquarian Society, National Maritime Museum). [Attributes: Hard Cover]
      [Bookseller: Donald A. Heald Rare Books (ABAA)]
Last Found On: 2015-07-07           Check availability:      AbeBooks    


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