Dots and dashes: Morse Code’s connection to Charleston

Screen Shot 2022-02-24 at 9.01.02 PM

Photo by Chris Curry

Here’s a coded message from CHStoday:
-- --- .-. ... . / -.-. --- -.. . / .... .- ... / .-. --- --- - ... / .. -. / -.-. .... .- .-. .-.. . ... - --- -.

Translation: Morse code has roots in Charleston.

What you may know: Samuel Morse was the co-inventor of Morse Code and the telegraph.

What you may not know: He was also a portrait painter and spent time living and painting in Charleston from about 1817 to 1821.

Local language lesson

In the 1830s and 1840s, Samuel co-developed Morse Code. If you don’t already know, Morse Code is an alphabetic code that allows simple communication of messages via telegraph lines. Fun Fact: Charleston adopted the telegraph in 1848.

To get you started, below are local buzzwords translated into Morse Code.

  • Charleston: -.-. .... .- .-. .-.. . ... - --- -.
  • Pineapple: .--. .. -. . .- .--. .--. .-.. .
  • Beach: -... . .- -.-. ....
  • Seafood: ... . .- ..-. --- --- -..
  • History: .... .. ... - --- .-. -.--

What’s on tap

You may know a tap sequence for SOS (three short taps, three long taps, three short taps). Want to learn one for 843? Find a hard surface + follow the guide below to tap 843 in Morse Code.

Three long taps, two short taps.
Four short taps, one long tap.
Three short taps, two long taps.

Go here to translate more CHS buzzwords into Morse Code. Some additional suggestions include oysters, church, and humidity.

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