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 has been identified as an early form of the "Triumph Key" made by Bunnell in the late 1880s and intended to address a problem of uneven contact wear in existing keys.
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
telegraph key
date made
ca 1890
maker
J. H. Bunnell & Co.
Physical Description
brass (overall material)
wood (overall material)
aluminum (overall material)
rubber (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 5 in x 3 in x 6 in; 12.7 cm x 7.62 cm x 15.24 cm
ID Number
EM*222137
catalog number
222137
accession number
41950
See more items in
Work and Industry: Electricity
Communications
Telegraph Keys
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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