Handmade Telegraph Key

Description (Brief)
Telegraph keys are electrical on-off switches used to send messages in Morse code. A semi-automatic key or "bug" repeated the Morse code dots rapidly. The operator still keyed the dashes but could work much faster. This semi-automatic key was hand-made by an American soldier in early 1944. The catalog card from Western Union reported: "Bug made by Corporal Julian N. Jablin while on the Anzio Beachead [sic]. It was made of scrap brass from a shell case, plastic from a German plane that had been shot down and hardware from an Italian clock. It was actually used in radio communication until the operator on the other end told Cpl. Jablin to change to his left foot."
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
telegraph key
semi-automatic key
sending key
maker
Jablin, Julian N.
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
plastic (overall material)
cloth (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 2 3/4 in x 3 in x 9 in; 6.985 cm x 7.62 cm x 22.86 cm
ID Number
EM*331323
accession number
294351
collector/donor number
100-049
catalog number
331323
subject
Communications
Telegraph Keys
See more items in
Work and Industry: Electricity
Telegraph Keys
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
from Western Union Corporation

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