“SOS”, the distress signal that is responsible for saving thousands of lives celebrates it’s 100th birthday today. SOS is most commonly used as the international morse code as a distress sigal which contains three dots three long dashes and then three more three dots.
SOS was first adopted by the German goverment in radio regulations which occured on April 1st, 1905. The standard became worldwide and in the 2nd International Radiogrpahic Convention which became effective officially on July 1st 1908.
In the past century, ‘SOS’ has become a firm part of popular culture used in everything from DIY programme titles to Abba hits, British newspaper ‘The Times’ reported.
But, it may be mentioned here that the call actually became famous when one of the radio operators of the ill-fated Titanic had supposedly said to his colleague: “Send SOS”. The tragedy revealed just how vital a universal system was.
After the collision in April 1912, the ship’s radio operators sent out both the old CQD and the new ‘SOS’ signals, but some ships in the area ignored both, thinking that they were having a party.
The new SOS distress signal was rarely ignored after that. Of course, technology has moved on dramatically since 1908 and only very occasionally are the telltale dots and dashes that have saved countless lives employed today.
Happy Birthday, ‘SOS’, and thanks for saving as many lives.