Although obtaining an amateur radio license no longer requires demonstrating a proficiency in Morse code, interest in Morse code doesn’t seem to have taken the nose dive that some had predicted. I think that many now regard Morse code as an elite skill rather than the unpleasant (but mandatory) task it used to be.
I’ve recently been enjoying the book The Art and Skill of Radio-Telegraphy. Written by the late William G. Pierpont N0HFF, it can also be read online here.
The book is largely about learning Morse code, with chapters such as “Practice To Gain Proficiency,” “Common Errors and What to Do About Them,” and “How Long Will It Take to Learn?” But there is also a lot of historical information about early radio and Morse code, including some great anecdotes such as this one:
In 1856 seven year-old John O’Brian delivered telegrams for his brother Richard, who at age 15 was the telegrapher for the local RR office. After two years of this John prevailed upon his brother to teach him how to operate. So, while still only nine years of age John became a good operator and was eager to have a job of his own. The RR offered him the position at a nearby town, and he snapped it up. People in those days were used to seeing young telegraphers, but not this young! Very soon, however, they became so pleased with his work that no more questions were asked.
This book looks like an excellent resource for anyone who wants to learn more about Morse code.