Semi-automatic Telegraph Key

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Description (Brief)
Telegraph keys are electrical on-off switches used to send messages in Morse code. A semi-automatic telegraph key like this one allows an operator to send land-line and wireless telegraph messages at a much faster rate than with an ordinary key. The key automatically produces rapid morse code dots by using a weighted pendulum to quickly make and break contact in the electrical circuit. The operator still makes the dashes manually. This key was used by Postal Telegraph operator Bryant W. Fields in the early 1910s.
Location
Currently not on view
Physical Description
iron (overall material)
metal (overall material)
plastic (overall material)
cloth (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 3 in x 2 1/2 in x 7 1/2 in; 7.62 cm x 6.35 cm x 19.05 cm
ID Number
EM.331628
accession number
294351
catalog number
331628
collector/donor number
72-21
Credit Line
from Western Union Corporation
See more items in
Work and Industry: Electricity
Communications
Telegraph Keys
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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