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 moved the handle back and forth to send the message. Called a pump-handle key, Charles Shirley patented this design in 1901. The heavy, detachable base gave Shirley a portable key that could be quickly placed in operation without clamps or other mounting hardware.
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
telegraph key
date made
ca 1902
maker
Foote, Pierson & Co.
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
brass (overall material)
cloth (overall material)
plastic (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 5 1/2 in x 3 5/8 in x 6 1/2 in; 13.97 cm x 9.2075 cm x 16.51 cm
ID Number
EM*222139
catalog number
222139
serial number
877
accession number
42158
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 Foote Pierson & Co.
Additional Media

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