Telegraph Sounder

Description (Brief)
Telegraph sounders convert electrical pulses into audible sounds and are used to receive Morse code messages. The message travels as a series of electrical pulses through a wire. Short pulses make a dot, slightly longer pulses make a dash. The sequence of dots and dashes represent letters and numbers. The pulses energize the sounder’s electromagnets which move a lever-arm. The arm makes a loud “click” when it strikes a crossbar and the operator translates the pattern of sounds into the original language. This sounder features an unusual design. The two brass arms that serve as the sounder's anvil are both set to one side of the unit. This may have been to allow easier access to the adjusting screws if the unit was mounted in a partially-enclosed resonator.
Currently not on view
J. H. Bunnell & Co.
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
brass (overall material)
rubber (overall material)
overall: 3 3/4 in x 3 in x 5 1/2 in; 9.525 cm x 7.62 cm x 13.97 cm
ID Number
collector/donor number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
from Western Union Corporation
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Work and Industry: Electricity
Telegraph Sounders
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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