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. This key is referred to as a camelback due to the curved design of the lever.
Location
Currently not on view
date made
ca 1850
maker
Clark, James J.
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
ivory (overall material)
steel (overall material)
brass (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 4 1/2 in x 3 1/2 in x 6 in; 11.43 cm x 8.89 cm x 15.24 cm
ID Number
EM.219551
catalog number
219551
accession number
40609
Credit Line
from C. M. Lewis
See more items in
Work and Industry: Electricity
Communications
Telegraph Keys
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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