Telegraph Register

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Description (Brief)
This telegraph register was made in the shop of Charles Williams, Jr., in Boston. Williams was an important maker of telegraph equipment and also early telephones designed by Alexander Graham Bell. 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 1870
Charles Williams, Jr.
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
brass (overall material)
copper (overall material)
overall: 18 cm x 12.5 cm x 32.5 cm; 7 3/32 in x 4 29/32 in x 12 25/32 in
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
from The Freeman Family
Communication, telegraph
See more items in
Work and Industry: Electricity
Telegraph Registers
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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