Alfred Vail
(1807 - 1859)


Notable Vail Kin
"VAIL, Alfred, inventor, was born in Morristown, N.J., Sept. 25, 1807; son of Judge Stephen (1780-1864) and Bethiah Youngs Vail. He was graduated from the University of the City of New York, 1836, but was obliged by ill health to abandon the idea of entering the Presbyterian ministry. On Sept. 2, 1837, he attended the exhibition of the telegraph apparatus of Professor S. F. B. Morse at the University, his interest in the invention resulting in an agreement with Professor Morse by which Vail was to receive a one-fourth interest in the invention in the United States, on condition that he construct at his own expense and exhibit before a congressional committee, one of the instruments and procure the necessary United States patents. ... more at "Notable Vail Kin"
Alfred Vail - click for a larger view !


Alfred Vail - click for a larger view !
born: 1807 married: (1) Jane Elizabeth Cummings 1839
married: (2) Amanda Eno 1855
 died: 1859

Children:

Grave of Alfred Vail, Morristown, NJStephen Vail (1840 - 1909) married Alice E. Stevens 1882
James Cummings Vail (1843 - 1917) married (1) Lena D. Hayes 1872; married (2) Ruth Ridgely Montgomery 1875
George Rochester Vail (1852 - 1931)
NJ Inventors Hall of Fame - NJ Institute of Technology
"Alfred Vail bought an interest in Samuel F. B. Morse's telegraph in 1837, and agreed to manufacture a complete set of telegraphic instruments and to finance American and foreign patents. He participated in the first public exhibition of the telegraph in New York City and before the Franklin Institute and the United State Congress. He invented the horizontal lever motion for the telegraph, devised the dot-dash alphabet, and built the grooved roller and automatic telegraph lever."
Morse Code or Vail Code?
The invention of the Morse code is generally attributed to Samuel F. B. Morse. Have we been mislead by historians? Have historians overlooked important documents? Or have historians just not shared all the facts with us? The following quote is taken from an article in "The Century: Illustrated Monthly Magazine", April, 1888, by Franklin Pope, titled "The American Inventors of the Telegraph, with special references to the services of Alfred Vail". The article is quite lengthily and comprehensive and is recommended reading for anyone interested in early telegraph history. ... more at "The Telegraph Office"
click for a larger view !


History of the Telegraph
return to top