1801, Jan 221888, May 21
a German writer, journalist, musician and pioneer of telegraphy who revised the Morse code in 1848. It is Gerke's notation which is used today. In the years before Gerke joined the optical and later the electrical telegraph, he worked as a musician in pubs and establishments for sailors on the Reeperbahn. This area of Hamburg was under Danish administration in those days. He also started a career in writing and journalism and published many articles about social life and criticized misgovernment. Gerke wrote several books about life in general, nature, and healthcare. From 1838 on he joined the optical telegraph of Johann Ludwig Schmidt, who established a private telegraph line between Hamburg and Cuxhaven. Gerke's first job was to fix their technical problems. In 1842, the year of the 'Great Hamburg Fire', he requested help from neighbouring fire brigades using the optical telegraph.
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