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 called a circuit-closer that takes the key off-line when not in use. The knob is missing from this object.
Currently not on view
date made
ca 1915
Western Electric
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
overall: 1 1/2 in x 3 1/4 in x 5 3/4 in; 3.81 cm x 8.255 cm x 14.605 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
from Western Union Corporation
See more items in
Work and Industry: Electricity
Telegraph Keys
Data Source
National Museum of American History


Add a comment about this object