Telegraph Key

Description (Brief)
Telegraph keys are electrical on-off switches used to send messages in Morse code. The message travels as a series of electrical pulses through a wire. The operator pushes the key’s lever down briefly to make a short signal, a dot, or holds the lever down for a moment to make a slightly longer signal, a dash. The sequence of dots and dashes represent letters and numbers. This key has a switch on the side called a circuit-closer that takes the key off-line when not in use. The wooden base was made in the museum to display the key. In operation, the key was mounted to a table using the bolts and wingnuts.
Location
Currently not on view
date made
ca 1890
maker
Foote, Pierson & Co.
Physical Description
brass (overall material)
wood (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 5 in x 3 in x 6 in; 12.7 cm x 7.62 cm x 15.24 cm
ID Number
EM.222134
accession number
41949
catalog number
222134
Credit Line
from Foote Pierson & Co.
See more items in
Work and Industry: Electricity
Communications
Telegraph Keys
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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