Telegraph Register

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Description (Brief)
This telegraph register is a replica of one of the 1844 units used on Samuel Morse’s line between Baltimore and Washington. The black coils are electromagnets and are much larger than those used on later registers. Telegraph registers are electrically-activated printers that receive Morse code messages. The message travels as a series of electrical pulses through a wire. The pulses energize the register’s electromagnets which move a lever-arm holding a pen or stylus. A clockwork mechanism pulls a strip of paper across the pen or stylus, recording the message. Short pulses draw or emboss a dot, slightly longer pulses a dash. The sequence of dots and dashes represent letters and numbers.
Currently not on view
date made
ca 1899
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
brass (overall material)
iron (overall material)
cloth (overall material)
overall: 8 in x 6 in x 13 3/4 in; 20.32 cm x 15.24 cm x 34.925 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
catalog number
Communication, telegraph
See more items in
Work and Industry: Electricity
Telegraph Registers
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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