Telegraph Register

Description (Brief)
This tape reel pulled a strip of paper through a telegraph register in a fire alarm system. Many early telegraph registers used a weight to power the tape reel but this unit used a steel spring that the user wound with the key seen below the paper tape. The spring kept tension on the paper tape so that when the register began printing, the paper flowed smoothly.
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
Object Name
telegraph register
telegraph tape reel
Physical Description
brass (overall material)
glass (overall material)
steel (overall material)
paper (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 8 in x 5 in x 5 1/2 in; 20.32 cm x 12.7 cm x 13.97 cm
ID Number
1988.0179.02
accession number
1988.0179
catalog number
1988.0179.02
subject
Telegraph Registers
Communication, telegraph
Communications
See more items in
Work and Industry: Electricity
Telegraph Registers
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
from Richard Pitman
Additional Media

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