Telegraph Key

Description (Brief)
Telegraph keys are electrical switches used to send coded messages that travel as a series of electrical pulses through a wire. This British “thumb key” was designed for use on underwater telegraph cables. Typical telegraph keys turn the current on and off in the line. This double-current key keeps the battery on the line and reverses the direction of the current flow when the operator presses down on the lever. Setting the small lever to “receive” sends the current to a separate relay instead of through the main section of the key.
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
telegraph key
submarine telegraph key
Physical Description
brass (overall material)
metal (overall material)
plastic (overall material)
wood (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 3 3/4 in x 4 3/4 in x 8 1/4 in; 9.525 cm x 12.065 cm x 20.955 cm
ID Number
EM*331673
accession number
294351
collector/donor number
14-02
catalog number
331673
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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