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 the Western Union catalog, this sounder was purchased by a member of the company's accounting department at a New York City pawnshop around 1900.
Currently not on view
Object Name
telegraph receiver
telegraph sounder
date made
ca 1890
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
brass (overall material)
rubber (overall material)
overall: 3 1/4 in x 3 in x 7 1/4 in; 8.255 cm x 7.62 cm x 18.415 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
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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