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 is referred to as a camelback due to the curved design of the lever.
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
key
telegraph key
date made
ca 1865
maker
L. G. Tillotson & Co.
Physical Description
brass (overall material)
wood (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 1 3/4 in x 2 3/4 in x 5 3/4 in; 4.445 cm x 6.985 cm x 14.605 cm
ID Number
EM*331249
accession number
294351
collector/donor number
100-824
catalog number
331249
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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