Telegraph Sounder

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Description (Brief)
Telegraph sounders convert electrical pulses into audible sounds and are used to receive Morse code messages. The message travels as a series of electrical pulses through a wire. Short pulses make a dot, slightly longer pulses make a dash. The sequence of dots and dashes represent letters and numbers. The pulses energize the sounder’s electromagnets which move a lever-arm. The arm makes a loud “click” when it strikes a crossbar and the operator translates the pattern of sounds into the original language. This is a typical telegraph sounder of the 1870s, made by L. G. Tillotson and Company, a well-known maker of telegraph equipment in that era.
Currently not on view
date made
ca 1874
L. G. Tillotson & Co.
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
brass (overall material)
overall: 3 3/4 in x 6 in x 3 1/4 in; 9.525 cm x 15.24 cm x 8.255 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
from Western Union Corporation
See more items in
Work and Industry: Electricity
Telegraph Sounders
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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