Telegraph Register

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Description (Brief)
This telegraph register is serial number 80 made by Charles T. Chester of New York. Set on a marble base, the unit was driven by a weight suspended by a string that passed through the hole in the base. Like a clock, the key was used to rewind the mechanism. 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
Chester, Charles T.
Physical Description
brass (overall material)
marble (overall material)
overall: 6 1/4 in x 8 1/4 in x 13 in; 15.875 cm x 20.955 cm x 33.02 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
from Janet Lewis
Communication, telegraph
See more items in
Work and Industry: Electricity
Telegraph Registers
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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