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 was made for the British Post Office. Unlike in the United States where privately owned companies like Western Union controlled the telegraph system, many other countries considered telegraph systems to be public property and left them to government control.
Currently not on view
date made
ca 1900
British Insulated & Helsby Company, Ltd.
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
brass (overall material)
rubber (overall material)
overall: 4 5/8 in x 3 1/4 in x 5 1/4 in; 11.7475 cm x 8.255 cm x 13.335 cm
ID Number
serial 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


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