Wireless Telegraph Key

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Description (Brief)
Telegraph keys are electrical on-off switches used to send messages in Morse code and can spark when the circuit opens. This wireless telegraph key features a large micarta disc on the knob to protect against the danger of accidental shock. Until recently, “wireless” meant radio and early wireless equipment often used high voltages.
Currently not on view
associated institution
Bureau of Standards
Physical Description
brass (overall material)
rubber (overall material)
wood (overall material)
metal (overall material)
overall: 3 1/2 in x 3 in x 5 1/2 in; 8.89 cm x 7.62 cm x 13.97 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
collector/donor number
Credit Line
from the United States Bureau of Standards, Dept. of Commerce
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Work and Industry: Electricity
Telegraph Keys
Data Source
National Museum of American History


This looks to be what is known as an "oil-break" key, perhaps manufactured by the French firm of DuCretet around 1910-1915. I hope this helps.

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