Telegraph Key

Description (Brief)
Telegraph keys are electrical on-off switches used to send messages in Morse code. The message travels as a series of electrical pulses through a wire. The operator pushes the key’s lever down briefly to make a short signal, a dot, or holds the lever down for a moment to make a slightly longer signal, a dash. The sequence of dots and dashes represent letters and numbers. This is a very early key used by Joseph Henry in experiments made at the Smithsonian.
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
telegraph key
date made
ca 1850
user
Henry, Joseph
Physical Description
brass (overall material)
wood (overall material)
copper (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 1 3/4 in x 2 in x 6 3/8 in; 4.445 cm x 5.08 cm x 16.1925 cm
ID Number
EM*181440
catalog number
181440
accession number
2006.0177
subject
Communications
Telegraph Keys
See more items in
Work and Industry: Electricity
Telegraph Keys
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
from the Smithsonian Institution Collection of Apparatus, thru William C. Winlock
Additional Media

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