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.
Currently not on view
date made
ca 1865
L. G. Tillotson & Co.
Physical Description
brass (overall material)
wood (overall material)
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
accession number
collector/donor number
catalog number
Credit Line
from Western Union Corporation
See more items in
Work and Industry: Electricity
Telegraph Keys
Data Source
National Museum of American History