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 has a switch on the side called a circuit-closer that takes the key off-line when not in use.
Location
Currently not on view
date made
ca 1884
maker
Electrical Supply Co.
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
brass (overall material)
rubber (overall material)
fiber (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 2 1/2 in x 3 in x 6 in; 6.35 cm x 7.62 cm x 15.24 cm
ID Number
EM.221143
catalog number
221143
accession number
41460
Credit Line
from Pennsylvania Railroad Company
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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