Bolter Bug Telegraph Key

Description (Brief)
Telegraph keys are electrical on-off switches used to send messages in Morse code. This semi-automatic telegraph key was designed by Royal L. Boulter in the early 1910s. Boulter's patents were ultimately purchased by the Vibroplex Company. A semi-automatic key repeated the Morse code dots rapidly, much like holding down a key on a keyboard for repeated letters. The operator still keyed the dashes but could work much faster.
Currently not on view
Object Name
semi-automatic key
sending key
telegraph key
Boulter, Royal L.
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
plastic (overall material)
cloth (overall material)
overall: 3 in x 3 1/2 in x 9 in; 7.62 cm x 8.89 cm x 22.86 cm
ID Number
accession number
collector/donor number
catalog number
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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