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 to select which side of a battery to connect to a line, the positive or negative terminal, and is called a pole-changing key.
Location
Currently not on view
date made
ca 1890
maker
Spies Electric Works
Physical Description
brass (overall material)
plastic (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 2 in x 3 1/2 in x 6 in; 5.08 cm x 8.89 cm x 15.24 cm
ID Number
EM.331428
maker number
1-B
collector/donor number
100-825
accession number
294351
catalog number
331428
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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