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.
Currently not on view
Object Name
telegraph key
Western Union Corporation
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
brass (overall material)
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
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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