Scribner telegraph repeater


Telegraph repeaters amplified electrical signals in a telegraph line. Telegraph messages traveled as a series of electrical pulses through a wire from a transmitter to a receiver. Short pulses made a dot, slightly longer pulses a dash. The pulses faded in strength as they traveled through the wire, limiting the distance a message could travel. Repeaters remedied that problem by detecting a weak signal and using a local power source to re-energize and re-transmit the signal down the line.

This model was submitted to the U.S. Patent Office by inventor Charles Scribner of Toledo, Ohio, on 9 August 1876 along with his patent application. Only 20 days later, he received patent #181600 for his "Improvement in Telegraphic Repeaters;" perhaps one of the shortest review periods ever for a patent. The rods seen along the top of the repeater connect the armatures of two relays to a centrally-mounted switch so that each relay can control the other. The armature of one relay is Stamped "Western Union Telegraph Co. Cleveland, O."

Date Made: 1876

Maker: Scribner, Charles E.

Location: Currently not on view

See more items in: Work and Industry: Electricity, Communications, Telegraph Relays & Repeaters


Exhibition Location:

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: EM.251257Catalog Number: 251257Accession Number: 48865Patent Number: 181600

Object Name: telegraph repeatertelegraph relayObject Type: Patent Model

Physical Description: brass (overall material)wood (overall material)cloth (overall material)rubber (overall material)Measurements: overall: 5 in x 12 in x 6 in; 12.7 cm x 30.48 cm x 15.24 cm


Record Id: nmah_706363

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