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 is an example of a very early type of key called a strap key.
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
key
telegraph key
maker
Western Union Corporation
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
brass (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 1 3/4 in x 3 1/8 in x 4 7/8 in; 4.445 cm x 7.9375 cm x 12.3825 cm
ID Number
EM*332296
accession number
294351
collector/donor number
03-48
catalog number
332296
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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