For a long while communication between cities and settlements where accomplished via mail, which took a long time to accomplish and were not very consistent as accident or bandits could interfere with those who delivered mail. Eventually though, a gem cutter in Famir, found that some crystals could be cut in different manners and that can affect how it reacted. Some became very sensitive to wave patterns that are naturally produced by the world and the atmosphere. By experimenting with different cuts and different configurations of crystals they where able to create a short wave radio that could transmit and receive short and long waves, rediscovering Morse code. This allowed for quicker methods of communication via the telegraph. This is still the most reliable method to send information. Though in the past 10 years Communication tech has increased even further in allowing for messages to be sent even further distances. There has been a greater creation recently that allows for people to transmit their voice across the air and heard on the other end. This communication device, however, is not yet widely distributed as the tech is bulky and some of the materials are expensive. There is also the problem that if the crystal gets chipped or scratched then it cannot function until the crystal is replaced. This is also expensive as the specific way the crystal is cut makes it delicate.
It is used to communicate across large distances to other cities, and settlements. Many use it to keep in touch with family and friends and many use it to order goods needed. It was discovered by accident by a gem cutter who dropped a crystal and found that it seemed to vibrate and resonance with other sources of energy. Currently there are no known misuses, except for, perhaps spreading of rumors.
The gears and cogs for the receiver and transmitter are built and placed in a protective casing that allows for easy use and to find and change frequencies when needed. Then the Crystal or crystals, for longer distances, are placed inside in a specific arrangement. Everything is closed up and ready for use. Gears need to be oiled and serviced on occasion, and that can be done by the operator, who is trained to maintain it. But if a crystal gets damaged, even a little, then it needs to be replaced in order to be usable.
Access & Availability
Most major cities have one or two telegraph offices, and most guild halls have a comm. room with someone trained to be able to use it and the long range voice communicator when it was created. It can be expensive to make and the crystals need to be cut precisely in order to resonate properly, so it is not something that everyone can afford to use. However, for a small fee, most people have access to a telegraph to be able to keep in contact with friends an family or to order goods they need.
It is moderately complex. The device needs to built to certain specifics, however if someone is talented enough with clockworks they can tweak it slightly in a different configuration the what is normally seen, say to be hidden under a large skirt. The Crystals have to be cut in a specific way to work. More crystals in specific patterns can change the range to be transmitted or received. Many gem cutters are employed by Clockworks to help cut crystals, though some engineers learn gem cutting techniques themselves.
The Crystal Telegraph was discovered when a gem cutter was polishing a crystal to allow for greater power out put when he accidentally dropped it and it landed in such a way that it split on an angle. Disappointed, he placed it down to dispose of it later. As he was reaching for another he noticed that the broken on seemed to be vibrating slightly. He had put it next to the lamp, and found that it reacted to the crystal powering the lamp. Intrigued, he started to experiment with different cuts to find what would vibrate the most. He then took it to the local Clockwork guild to show them. Through trial and error, they were able to make the first short wave radio and the telegraph.
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