Telegraph Register

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
Object Name
telegraph receiver
telegraph register
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
Communication, telegraph
See more items in
Work and Industry: Electricity
Telegraph Registers
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center


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