Telegraph Register

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Description (Brief)
This telegraph register, typical of those in service during the U. S. Civil War, used a weight to drive the tape mechanism. Stamped “P. & R. RR. Co.” (Philadelphia & Reading Railroad Company) the register was made by Knox & Shain, a noted Philadelphia maker of telegraph equipment. 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
ca 1860
Knox & Shain
Physical Description
copper (overall material)
wood (overall material)
brass (overall material)
overall: 7 1/4 in x 6 1/4 in x 13 in; 18.415 cm x 15.875 cm x 33.02 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
from J. H. Bunnell & Co.
Communication, telegraph
See more items in
Work and Industry: Electricity
Telegraph Registers
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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