Telegraph Register

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Description (Brief)
This experimental telegraph register was made by James Green and was reportedly used by Rev. Henry Sheib of Baltimore and Samuel Morse on private line demonstrations in the late 1830s. After talking with Joseph Henry, Morse adopted u-shaped electromagnets like the one used on this object. The large wooden pulley supported a hanging weight that pulled the paper tape under the stylus.
Telegraph registers are electrically-activated printers that receive Morse code messages. The message travels as a series of electrical pulses through a wire. The pulses energize the register’s electromagnets which move a lever-arm holding a pen or stylus. A clockwork mechanism pulls a strip of paper across the pen or stylus, recording the message. Short pulses draw or emboss a dot, slightly longer pulses a dash. The sequence of dots and dashes represent letters and numbers.
Currently not on view
date made
Green, James
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
steel (overall material)
copper (overall material)
fiber (overall material)
brass (overall material)
overall: 11 in x 8 in x 16 1/2 in; 27.94 cm x 20.32 cm x 41.91 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
from Rev. Henry Schieb
Communication, telegraph
See more items in
Work and Industry: Electricity
Telegraph Registers
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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