The history of ‘SOS – help me’! (1906)

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Friday, 3 November 2017

1906 -

We hope it will never happen, but what if luck turns its back against you and you get lost on an uninhabited Island? Well if you ever did get lost, chances are you know what signal to make in the sand, to call for help: S.O.S. This signal for distress is only a hundred years old. It was chosen as the worldwide signal for help on this day, November 3th 1906 at the International Radiotelegraph Conference in Berlin.

No, it does not mean ‘Save Our Souls’
Many people believe the initials of SOS stand for ‘Save Our Ship’, ‘Save Our Souls’ or ‘Send Out Succour’, but those stories are all myths. In fact, SOS doesn’t stand for anything, but was chosen because the word could easily be transformed into Morse code. The code was invented by Samuel Morse. The SOS signal is transmitted as · · · – – – · · · in Morse code.

Trivial fact
Did you know the first person that used the SOS signal was also the second person that received a SOS signal? On August 11th in 1909 a man named T.D. Haubner used the SOS signal because his ship, called ‘the SS Arapahoe’, lost its screw near the Diamond Shoals. The area is also known as the ‘Graveyard of the Atlantic’. He got rescued and only months later, Haubner himself received the world’s second SOS signal, which makes him the first sender and the second receiver of the SOS signal.


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