Experimental Telegraph Key

Description (Brief)
This experimental semi-automatic telegraph key was judged a failure by William Fluharty of Western Union. This design made it "impossible to split dots or crowd signals," rendering the message garbled.
Telegraph keys are electrical on-off switches used to send messages in Morse code. A semi-automatic telegraph key allows an operator to send messages at a much faster rate than with an ordinary key. The key automatically produces rapid morse code dots by using a weighted pendulum to quickly make and break contact in the electrical circuit. The operator still makes the dashes manually.
Currently not on view
Object Name
semi-automatic key
sending key
telegraph key
date made
Fluharty, William G.
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
plastic (overall material)
overall: 2 1/2 in x 3 1/2 in x 8 in; 6.35 cm x 8.89 cm x 20.32 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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