In 1855, David Edward Hughes introduced an improved machine built on the work of Royal Earl House.
In less than two years, a number of small telegraph companies, including Western Union in early stages of development, united to form one large corporation – Western Union Telegraph Co.
He linked two 28-key piano-style keyboards by wire.
Each piano key represented a letter of the alphabet and when pressed caused the corresponding letter to print at the receiving end.
These included a simple pair of wires; dedicated non-switched telephone circuits (leased lines); switched networks that operated similarly to the public telephone network (telex); and radio and microwave links (telex-on-radio, or TOR).
A teleprinter attached to a modem could also communicate through standard switched public telephone lines.
This latter configuration was often used to connect teleprinters to remote computers, particularly in time-sharing environments.
Teleprinters have largely been replaced by fully electronic computer terminals which typically have a computer monitor instead of a printer (though the term "TTY" is still occasionally used to refer to them, such as in Unix systems).
By 1846, the Morse telegraph service was operational between Washington, D. Royal Earl House patented his printing telegraph that same year.
If the key corresponding to a particular character was pressed at the home station, it actuated the typewheel at the distant station just as the same character moved into the printing position, in a way similar to the daisy wheel printer.
It was thus an example of a synchronous data transmission system.
Some models could also be used to create punched tape for data storage (either from typed input or from data received from a remote source) and to read back such tape for local printing or transmission.
Teleprinters could use a variety of different communication media.
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The Murray system employed an intermediate step, a keyboard perforator, which allowed an operator to punch a paper tape, and a tape transmitter for sending the message from the punched tape.