People have gone from drawings on cave walls to smoke signals, telegraphs, handheld radios, television, phones, beepers, cell phones, computers, and many more to communicate with someone they are not with at the time.
New forms of communication transformed the West. During the early days of the frontier, a letter took months to travel from the Midwest to California. But several developments soon made communication much faster. In April 1860, a pony express mail service began carrying mail between St. Joseph, Missouri, and Sacramento. The service’s horseback riders usually made their long journey in about 10 days.
The telegraph soon ended the need for the Pony Express. This instrument, the first used to send messages by means of wires and electric current, could transmit messages in minutes. Transcontinental telegraph service was established in 1861. By about 1900, however, the recently invented telephone had begun to cause a decline in telegraph use.