Telegraph Register

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Description (Brief)
In 1853 James J. Clark received U. S. patent 9514 for his “telegraphic register.” This may be the model Clark submitted to the Patent Office to demonstrate his invention, related to his work on self-winding registers. Most registers used wind-up springs or a weight-driven mechanism to pull the paper under the pen or embossing stylus. Like a mechanical clock, either type of mechanism would occasionally need to be rewound. Clark filed several patents for self-winding devices and this patent covered his method of shutting off current from the mechanism when the spring was completely rewound.
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.
Location
Currently not on view
date made
ca 1860
maker
Clark, James J.
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
brass (overall material)
cloth (overall material)
ivory (overall material)
metal (overall material)
copper (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 8 1/2 in x 12 in x 6 1/2 in; 21.59 cm x 30.48 cm x 16.51 cm
ID Number
EM.320016
accession number
243907
catalog number
320016
patent number
9514
subject
Communication, telegraph
See more items in
Work and Industry: Electricity
Communications
Telegraph Registers
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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