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 replica of a very early type of key used by Samuel Morse and Alfred Vail.
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
telegraph key
date made
1898
maker
Model Shop, United States National Museum
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
brass (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 1 5/8 in x 3 in x 6 in; 4.1275 cm x 7.62 cm x 15.24 cm
ID Number
EM*181769
catalog number
181769
nonaccession number
1995.3095
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
Made in museum
Additional Media

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