Home Page | W.A. Telegraph History | Morsecodians Fraternity of W.A. page | Current issue Morsecodians Newsletter | All about Telegrams | VK6CP page | Telegram Adverts | International Telegram Service | Eucla Telegraph Station | Elegant telegraphists | Wedding Telegram Jokes | Creed Teleprinters | Creed company history | Five-unit Murray code | Telex service explained | Telegraph expressions explained | Telegram Stories |


DONALD MURRAY,
5-UNIT TELEGRAPH CODE DEVELOPER


The following excerpts appertain specifically to his 5-unit telegraph code improvements, recognised as the forerunner to the current ITA2 5-unit code, in fact the letters case is identical to ITA2 - were gleaned from a comprehensive bio of Donald, at a now broken link:- (http://www.finsysgp.com/macbob/Couples0/C111280.html>.
 

Donald Murray, "The Inventor"
Born: 1866 Died: 1945
He took up journalism, for he had a facile pen. He was also a born mechanic, so that the mechanical features of a newspaper office attracted him, and ideas of setting type by telegraph began to germinate in his mind.

In 1898, when these ideas had taken a practical form, he went to New York where he joined the staff of the Postal Cable Company. Two years later, he came to London and for a short time worked at the General Post Office on the development of his first system of printing telegraphy. This system was fully described in his paper on "Setting Type by Telegraph" which was published in the Journal in 1905 and for which he was awarded the Fahie Premium. The paper marked an era in the presentation of papers on telegraphy; among other things it laid down the fundamentals required of a successful printing telegraph system with respect to the form of the alphabet or code to be employed.

He then designed a system of multiple telegraphy which possessed important advantages over that of Baudot; his phonic wheel motor, in combination with Baudot's epicyclic correcting train gave such excellent synchronism that it was adopted by the French Telegraph Administration. This system was described in a second paper, which was published in the Journal in 1911, and for which he was again awarded the Fahie Premium. In 1914-15 he contributed a series of articles to the Telegraph and Telephone journal, entitled "Press the Button Telegraphy", and in 1925 he was awarded the Paris Exhibition Premium for his Institution paper on "Speeding up the Telegraphs; a Forecast of the New Telegraphy".

Murray sold his American rights in his multiplex system, but he retained its manufacture and sale in Europe in his own hands until his retirement. As an employer he was stern but just. Nothing but the best was good enough for him, and he gathered around him a group of craftsmen who were unrivalled.

In the field of machine telegraphy his name deserves to rank with those of Wheatstone, Kelvin, Baudot and Gulstad.
"I ask for the sympathy of all fair-minded men against the unscrupulous tactics of a big American Company, which is trying to deprive me of the legitimate fruits of my labour". signed Donald Murray.

This refers to an offer by the Western Electric Company which Donald considered inadequate. "The answer then made to me by the company was that they could get round any patents".

Several of Donald Murray's printing telegraph machines and models are in the South Kensington Science Museum in London.

Telegraphy.
In 1899 Donald Murray went to New York with a telegraph invention, which was designed for setting type by telegraph by connecting the linotype to telegraph machinery, his motto being "this tape sets type". When it had reached practical form as the Murray Automatic Printing Telegraphy System, Donald Murray brought it to London in 1901. He left the Post Office in 1909 having established a Telegraph Engineering factory in London in conjunction with S.G. Brown, F.R.S., and he sold a number of his installations to Germany, Austria, Russia and Sweden, Brazil, Australia and New Zealand. It would be difficult to apportion the credit to each of the inventors concerned, but Donald Murray, F.G. Creed, (and 7 others. RLM) were leaders of the remarkable group of engineers, capitalists and inventors who revolutionised telegraphy. Donald Murray was the leader of the inventors on the theoretical side. The first newspaper in Europe to use the tele-typesetter was the Scotsman, under the guidance of W.P. Morris, transmitting about 40 columns a day from London and automatically setting it in type in the Scotsman office in Edinburgh. The Glasgow Herald has also adopted this remarkable machinery.

"I may take this opportunity to point out that my success as a telegraph engineer and inventor was based on THEORY, GENERAL PRINCIPLES and PATH-FINDING. In that respect I claim to stand high also in the Philosophy of Power. Long before the sixth volume is finished, readers will appreciate the new ideas and valuable general principles that distinguish The Philosophy of Power. There has been nothing like the flow of new ideas in The Philosophy of Power before or since Herbert Spencer wrote his wonderful Synthetic Philosophy". D.M.

There is a copy of his book in the British Museum, shelved at 8471.f.14. Also a copy in the Wellington City Library, 90% of it. I do not recollect the occurrence of the words love, marriage, wife or sex.

Short notes from various sources.

"I had gone through the New Zealand and afterwards Sydney Universities, and for my degree I took logic among other subjects. That set the ball rolling and it has been rolling ever since, a matter of 22 years."

"I spent 12 years and some thousands of pounds in developing the Murray Automatic, my high-speed typewriter, which worked at nearly 200 words (1200 letters) a minute."
An advertisement in 1923 in the Telephone Journal says: "The Murray Multiplex is the Rolls Royce of Printing Telegraphs in performance, but not in price."

In the Telegraph and Telephone Journal of November 1914 Murray states the basis of his complaint against the Western Electric Company.

Rev: 15th March 2005