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 miniature key was made by the donor and is fully functional.
Currently not on view
Object Name
telegraph key
date made
ca 1900
Ways, C. I.
Physical Description
brass (overall material)
plastic (overall material)
overall: 3/4 in x 1 3/16 in x 2 9/16 in; 1.905 cm x 3.01625 cm x 6.50875 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Telegraph Keys
See more items in
Work and Industry: Electricity
Telegraph Keys
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
from C. I. Ways
Additional Media

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