NPR logo Oops (--- --- .--. ...): Pittsburgh's Mixed-Up Morse Code

Must Reads

Oops (—- —- .—. ...): Pittsburgh's Mixed-Up Morse Code

It seems the message being beamed out from the top of Pittsburgh's Grant Building isn't quite right.

As All Things Considered's Robert Siegel reports, the Morse code message that's supposed to spell out P-I-T-T-S-B-U-R-G-H has gotten a bit jumbled.

Robotics graduate student Tom Stepleton has videos that show the message being sent recently was P-I-T-E-T-S-B-K-R-R-H and then T-P-E-B-T-S-A-U-R-G-H. He took his findings to the local Post-Gazette, which reports that the building's owners don't know how long the message has been garbled, but are aware of the problem.

Here are Stepleton's videos proving his point. The first was produced on July 5; the second on July 13

According to the newspaper, the Grant was Pittsburgh's first skyscraper (it was built in 1928) and:

Commercial air travel was still a novelty and regular air mail service was just a year-old experiment. Newspapers at the time said it was decided that the tower should have an aerial beacon flashing on it "to comply with the recent request of Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover, so that aviators might recognize the city."

—- ..-. / -.-. —- ..- .-. ... . —..— / - .... . / - .— —- -....- .— .- -.— / ... —- — . - .. — . ... / — .- -.- . ... / — .. ... - .- -.- . ... / - —- —- .-.-.-

(Translations welcomed in the comments thread.)



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.