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The transition to electronic mail ,in the 1860's
Old 05-08-2015, 02:09 AM   #1
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The transition to electronic mail ,in the 1860's

Was reading some history of the area between Lake Tahoe and Sacramento , and came across this :

The Central Overland Pony Express Company began their short-lived but well celebrated delivery of the mail on April 3, 1860. The riders were mainly slight, young boys, preferably orphans. What mother would let her son take such chances? Every new employee of the company owned by Russell, Majors and Waddell had to swear that, “I will under no circumstances, use profane language: that I will drink no intoxicating liquors: that I will not quarrel or fight with any other employee of the firm, and that in every respect I will conduct myself honestly, and be faithful to my duties… So help me God.”

At first a letter going by Pony Express from Sacramento to Saint Joseph, Missouri, took 10 days at a cost of $5.00 for one half ounce. Later the trip of 1,966 miles was made in 8 or 9 days and the cost was reduced to $1.00 for one half ounce. The rider rode at top speed from one station to the next. The station keeper would have a fresh horse saddled and ready to travel. It took the rider less than two minutes to change horses and grab the mochilla full of mail. On an average day one rider would ride 75 to 100 miles. However, He might have to continue on if the next rider was not available. The last run of the Pony Express was on October 24, 1861. The completion of the transcontinental telegraph made the Pony Express Company obsolete. The Pony Express route as well as the telegraph lines roughly followed the John Pearson Road and what is the present day Pony Express Trail.

150 years ago ,Pony Express mail rate started at $5 for 1/2 once , cut prices to $1 , but it was too late . The internet , I mean the Telegraph put them out of business in just 2 years Had no idea the Pony Express was so short lived.

http://www.thepollockpinesepic.com/t...tes-and-roads/
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Old 05-08-2015, 04:17 AM   #2
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Yes, it was very brief.

Also that corresponds with trains going cross continent - didn't need ponies by 1869. So that would have killed it anyway.
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Old 05-08-2015, 08:25 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lakewood90712 View Post
Was reading some history of the area between Lake Tahoe and Sacramento , and came across this :
The rider rode at top speed from one station to the next. The station keeper would have a fresh horse saddled and ready to travel. It took the rider less than two minutes to change horses and grab the mochilla full of mail.

http://www.thepollockpinesepic.com/t...tes-and-roads/
Unfamiliar with the word mochilla, so thank you. I find the Spanish has it as backpack or rucksack, but my image of the Pony Express rider's pack has saddlebags, as a horse or motorcycle rider would use. Did find these;

mochila (plural mochilas)
  1. (US, Western US) A large leather flap that covers the saddle tree.
Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary

"I made a desperate rush for him and made a strike at him with my knife, but he threw up his arm and knocked off my lick, at the same time a measly redskin shot me through the calf of my leg, pinning me to the mochila of my saddle." Thirty-One Years On The Plains And In The Mountains by William F. Drannan

Any Spanish speakers that can enlarge upon the word?
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Old 05-08-2015, 09:27 AM   #4
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My younger son did a big presentation, complete with diorama made of legos, on the pony express in the 3rd grade... He taught me many facts about it. Like you, I was surprised how short the pony express ran. I was also surprised how young most of the riders were.
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Old 05-08-2015, 09:32 AM   #5
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I read a great book about western expansion and the trails like the Butterfield Trail. It focused on that period and covered the Pony Express, which is where I learned how brief its time of operation was.

I can't remember the name of the book!
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Old 05-08-2015, 10:01 AM   #6
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I also was unaware it was so short lived. But it sure made a name in history.

I recall some article around 1999, a historical review of technology as the new century approached. And they made the point that you made in the OP - the telegraph was one of the most amazing technology shifts. It was the first time that information could be reliably delivered faster than a horse could run. Think about that.

The internet and email are 'just' extensions of that, but the telegraph was the original groundbreaking technology. About the same time photographs were coming into use? Lots of changes.

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Old 05-08-2015, 10:36 AM   #7
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I still wish we had the pony express every time I pay my taxes.
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Old 05-08-2015, 11:32 AM   #8
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Though the amount of information they could transmit was limited, semaphore lines (1700s) predate both the Pony Express and telegraph, and were much faster than horses. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semaphore_line
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Old 05-08-2015, 11:57 AM   #9
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Though the amount of information they could transmit was limited, semaphore lines (1700s) predate both the Pony Express and telegraph, and were much faster than horses. Semaphore line - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Yes, the article I mentioned discussed semaphores and some other signalling systems, but they really were not all that reliable or widespread due to the geography, weather, and privacy issues mentioned in the wiki article. They had their place, but just did not have the impact that the telegraph had.

And I wonder how many errors crept in if it had to be repeated every few miles? Did they use a parity bit?


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Old 05-08-2015, 04:24 PM   #10
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It was very brief, was it because of our exposure to old westerns that made it bigger than history?

I has never heard of a semaphore telegraph, very interesting. I just thought a semephore was something I waited on.

ERD50 I think they were working on SHA encryption before the parity.

What really amazes me is the short time that it took to construct the railroad. Considering the equipment they had, and they were building the railroad and infrastructure to support the railroad at the same time.

Going across this state much of the original track runs through the same areas today. The towns were created as the original stations. Many of those are still ungated, unlighted crossings, as it's considered not cost effective.

I had to cross one for ten years, couldn't see either direction. I'd turn the radio down, stopped look twice and take off. It was scary how many times I'd be through the crossing maybe 100 yards down the road and there was a train running through the tracks! Less than a year after we moved a man was killed on that same crossing.

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