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. According to a Western Union tag, this sounder was used on the Chicago, Kansas and Western Railroad. W. T. Baker of Western Union's New York repair shop sent the sounder to the company museum in 1937.
Currently not on view
date made
ca 1890
J. H. Bunnell & Co.
place made
United States: New York, New York
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
brass (overall material)
rubber (overall material)
overall: 3 in x 3 1/4 in x 5 5/8 in; 7.62 cm x 8.255 cm x 14.2875 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
from Western Union Corporation
See more items in
Work and Industry: Electricity
Telegraph Sounders
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center


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