Telegraph Register

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Description (Brief)
Vermont blacksmith and inventor Thomas Davenport made this telegraph register around 1845 as part of his investigations of electromagnetic phenomena. He received the first United States patent for an electric motor. 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 1845
Davenport, Thomas
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
brass (overall material)
overall: 5 1/2 in x 13 1/2 in x 4 3/4 in; 13.97 cm x 34.29 cm x 12.065 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
from Frank E. Chandler
Communication, telegraph
See more items in
Work and Industry: Electricity
Telegraph Registers
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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