Telegraph Key

<< >>
Description (Brief)
Telegraph keys are electrical on-off switches used to send messages in Morse code. The message travels as a series of electrical pulses through a wire. The operator pushes the key’s lever down briefly to make a short signal, a dot, or holds the lever down for a moment to make a slightly longer signal, a dash. The sequence of dots and dashes represent letters and numbers. The straight lever was used in the mid nineteenth century.
Currently not on view
date made
ca 1870
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
plastic (overall material)
overall: 3 in x 3 3/8 in x 6 in; 7.62 cm x 8.5725 cm x 15.24 cm
ID Number
nonaccession number
catalog number
See more items in
Work and Industry: Electricity
Telegraph Keys
Data Source
National Museum of American History


Add a comment about this object