Telegraph Register

Description (Brief)
An incomplete telegraph register with automatic speed regulator. At the side of the machine is a toothed wheel attached to one of the rollers in the drive train and engaging a worm gear at the upper end of a revolving rod, to the lower end of which are attachments which formerly had two adjustable fans. The fans were made to open and close automatically and control the speed of the machine. William Clark of Philadelphia made this register as a test of his speed regulation design.
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
Object Name
telegraph receiver
telegraph register
date made
ca 1847
Clark, William
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
brass (overall material)
copper (overall material)
overall: 8 in x 7 in x 10 1/2 in; 20.32 cm x 17.78 cm x 26.67 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Telegraph Registers
Communication, telegraph
See more items in
Work and Industry: Electricity
Telegraph Registers
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
from Mrs. Horatio King
Additional Media

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