Telegraph Register

Description (Brief)
George M. Phelps at Western Union designed this telegraph register, one of many types he designed for the company. This unit recorded signals from messenger call boxes, small telegraph transmitters that office managers used to summon telegraph delivery service when needed. 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
Phelps, George M.
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
glass (overall material)
copper (overall material)
brass (overall material)
overall: 8 3/4 in x 13 1/2 in x 6 1/2 in; 22.225 cm x 34.29 cm x 16.51 cm
ID Number
accession number
collector/donor number
catalog number
Credit Line
from Western Union Corporation
Communication, telegraph
See more items in
Work and Industry: Electricity
Telegraph Registers
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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