Telegraph Register

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Description (Brief)
This incomplete telegraph register is missing the electromagnets, embossing lever and other parts. Serial number 214 is stamped on the piece and a faint maker's mark appears on the brass base plate: "J. N. ...". The register came to the Smithsonian in 1904 from the Delaware & Hudson Company so we presume it saw service in their railroad system.
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
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
brass (overall material)
overall: 6 3/4 in x 6 1/4 in x 12 3/4 in; 17.145 cm x 15.875 cm x 32.385 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
from the Delaware & Hudson Company
Communication, telegraph
See more items in
Work and Industry: Electricity
Telegraph Registers
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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