Telegraph Register

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Description (Brief)
This telegraph register, typical of those in service during the U. S. Civil War, used a weight to drive the tape mechanism. Stamped “N. C. R. W. Co.” (which may indicate the Northern Central Railway Company) the register was reportedly used at a station in Elmira, NY. 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
Knox & Shain
Physical Description
copper (overall material)
wood (overall material)
brass (overall material)
overall: 6 1/2 in x 6 1/4 in x 13 in; 16.51 cm x 15.875 cm x 33.02 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
from the Telegraph Historical Society, thru J. H. Shearer
Communication, telegraph
See more items in
Work and Industry: Electricity
Telegraph Registers
Data Source
National Museum of American History