Telegraph Key

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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 was made as a scarf pin but is fully functional and could send messages.
Currently not on view
date made
ca 1900
Ways, C. I.
Physical Description
brass (overall material)
mother-of-pearl (overall material)
overall: 1/2 in x 5/8 in x 1 3/4 in; 1.27 cm x 1.5875 cm x 4.445 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
from C. I. Ways
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Work and Industry: Electricity
Telegraph Keys
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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