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 pushes the key’s lever down briefly to make a short signal, a dot, or holds the lever down for a moment to make a slightly longer signal, a dash. The sequence of dots and dashes represent letters and numbers. This key has a switch on the side called a circuit-closer that takes the key off-line when not in use. The rear adjustment screw is missing from the lever arm.
date made
ca 1900
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
plastic (overall material)
slate (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 1 5/8 in x 3 1/2 in x 6 in; 4.1275 cm x 8.89 cm x 15.24 cm
ID Number
EM.332253
accession number
294351
catalog number
332253
collector/donor number
100-832
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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