Samuel Finley Breese Morse was an American painter and inventor from Massachusetts born in 1791. He gained his fame as a portrait painter as a young adult. Morse had other passions in the field of electricity and electrical engineering. His most notable work as co-developer of Morse Code helped to develop the commercial use of telegraphy. After graduating from Phillips Academy in his home state, Morse attended Yale College studying religious philosophy, mathematics and science of horses. At Yale, he attended lectures from leaders of their respective industries at that time, Jeremiah Day and Benjamin Silliman.
In 1811, Morse gained admittance into the Royal Academy. While there, he furthered his artistic practices gaining inspiration from the art created during the Renaissance. His masterpiece, Dying Hercules, was created after a sculpture he studied for the painting. Many of his paintings were also inspired by his religious studies. From 1830-1832, Morse traveled and studied European art. It was there that he completed his project, The Gallery of the Louvre.
It was Morse’s paintings that eventually sparked his interest in improving electrical communications. While painting a portrait in Washington, D.C. in 1825, he received a letter from his father that his wife was in failing health. By the time arrived home, his wife had already been buried. Morse was extremely grief-stricken about not receiving the message in time that he began to devote his energy into establish a means to rapidly communication over long distances. Thus, the Morse Code was born. He received a patent for the telegraph in 1847.
Morse married twice and fathered seven children. He gave to charity often and provided the capital to establish a lectureship on the “relation of the Bible to the Sciences.” Morse lived a comfortable life despite not receiving royalties from his inventions. His estate was valued at $500,000 ( $10.2 million today) at the time of his death in 1972.