Bunnell "Weiny-Phillips" telegraph relay - repeater

Description
Telegraph relays amplified electrical signals in a telegraph line. Telegraph messages traveled as a series of electrical pulses through a wire from a transmitter to a receiver. Short pulses made a dot, slightly longer pulses a dash. The pulses faded in strength as they traveled through the wire, to the point where the incoming signal was too weak to directly operate a receiving sounder or register. A relay detected a weak signal and used a battery to strengthen the signal so that the receiver would operate.
A plate on this Bunnell relay associates the unit with "Weiny-Phillips" U.S. patent 479178. However, that 19 July 1892 patent was issued solely to Roderick H. Weiny with no mention of Phillips. The relay differs in appearance from the unit depicted on the patent so perhaps Phillips modified Weiny's design.
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
relay repeater
telegraph relay
date made
ca 1893
maker
J. H. Bunnell & Co.
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
brass (overall material)
steel (overall material)
plastic (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 4 1/2 in x 8 1/2 in x 4 5/8 in; 11.43 cm x 21.59 cm x 11.7475 cm
ID Number
EM*331671
accession number
294351
catalog number
331671
collector/donor number
12-05
patent number
479178
See more items in
Work and Industry: Electricity
Communications
Telegraph Relays & Repeaters
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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