Bulkley telegraph repeater patent model

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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.
This working model of a repeater was submitted to the U.S. Patent Office by inventor Charles S. Bulkley only six years after Samuel Morse sent "What Hath God Wrought." In November of 1850 he received patent #7769 for his "Double-Acting Telegraphic Repeater." Bulkley, of Macon, Georgia, had conducted experiments in 1848 to send messages between New York and New Orleans using repeaters.
Currently not on view
date made
Bulkley, Charles S.
Physical Description
brass (overall material)
wood (overall material)
cloth (overall material)
overall: 5 1/2 in x 6 1/2 in x 15 in; 13.97 cm x 16.51 cm x 38.1 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
patent number
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Work and Industry: Electricity
Telegraph Relays & Repeaters
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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