Bringing together the two large electric currents that divide Europe’: Switzerland’s Role in Promoting the Creation of a Common European Telegraph Space, 1849-1865

Balbi, Gabriele and Calvo, Spartaco and Fari, Simone and Richeri, Giuseppe (2009) Bringing together the two large electric currents that divide Europe’: Switzerland’s Role in Promoting the Creation of a Common European Telegraph Space, 1849-1865. Journal of the International Committee for the History of Technology, 15. pp. 61-80. ISSN 1361-8113

Full text not available from this repository.

Abstract

A few years after the introduction of the electric telegraph (1843-44), European countries understood that this new medium could be relevant either for national or for international communication. For this reason, most countries joined together in two main telegraphic unions: the Austro-German (1850) and the West European (1855). Having understood that telegraphy would be better managed in a single institution, a series of European countries engaged in a unification process. Switzerland was the leading country in this process for many reasons. It was a neutral country with a very good reputation as an international mediator. It pursued the politics of "step by step", trying to influence the conventions signed in both conferences and trying to make them increasingly similar until they were substantially the same. Finally, the Swiss telegraph administration had strong personal and institutional relationships with the Austrian one, which was the most relevant European administration opposed to creating a common communication space. Thanks to the fundamental role of Switzerland, in 1865 the two unions finally merged in the first supranational organization, the International Telegraph Union.

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item