Telegraph Key

Description (Brief):

Telegraph keys are electrical switches used to send coded messages that travel as a series of electrical pulses through a wire. Due to special difficulties in sending pulses through long underwater cables, so-called double-current keys were used. Instead of the short dots and long dashes of land-line telegraphs, submarine telegraphs sent positive pulses and negative pulses that made the receiver move right or left. The operator pressed one lever on the key to send a positive pulse and another to send a negative pulse. The code consisted of the sequence of left and right movements recorded on a paper tape.

Date Made: ca 1890

Maker: Foote, Pierson & Co.

Location: Currently not on view

Subject: Telegraph


See more items in: Work and Industry: Electricity, Telegraph Keys, Communications


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: from Western Union International

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: EM.329942Accession Number: 283729Catalog Number: 329942

Object Name: cable keytelegraph keysubmarine telegraph key

Physical Description: slate (overall material)brass (overall material)Measurements: overall: 2 1/2 in x 4 1/2 in x 6 1/4 in; 6.35 cm x 11.43 cm x 15.875 cm


Record Id: nmah_1193967

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