Lindsey telegraph repeater patent model

Telegraph repeaters 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, limiting the distance a message could travel. Repeaters remedied that problem by detecting a weak signal and using a local power source to re-energize and re-transmit the signal down the line.
In July 1872, inventor Landy T. Lindsey of Tennessee submitted this model along with his application for a U.S. patent. In 1873 he received patent #136251 for an "Improvement in Telegraph-Repeaters," in which he disclosed a circuit design "simple, reliable and void of many of the mechanical auxiliaries heretofore used" in automatic repeaters. He did not manufacture all the parts of his model however. The telegraph keys were made by L. G. Tillotson & Co., and the sounders and relays have the stamp of James J. Clark of Philadelphia. Lindsey simply arranged the manufactured components in a novel circuit to accomplish his invention.
Currently not on view
Object Name
telegraph relay
telegraph repeater
date made
Clark, James J.
L. G. Tillotson & Co.
Lindsey, Landy T.
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
metal (overall material)
overall: 5 in x 12 in x 9 3/4 in; 12.7 cm x 30.48 cm x 24.765 cm
ID Number
catalog number
patent number
accession number
Telegraph Relays & Repeaters
See more items in
Work and Industry: Electricity
Telegraph Relays & Repeaters
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
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