Samuel F. B. Morse was being a greedy bastard:
Eighth. I do not propose to limit myself to the specific machinery or parts of machinery described in the foregoing specification and claims; the essence of my invention being the use of the motive power of the electric or galvanic current, which I call electro-magnetism, however developed for marking or printing intelligible characters, signs, or letters, at any distances, being a new application of that power of which I claim to be the first inventor or discoverer.
The inventor of the telegraph, Morse made an extremely broad claim in his patent, seeking to protect not only the machinery of the telegraph, but the basic principles by which it operated. Read more…