Telegraph Key

Description (Brief):

Telegraph keys are electrical on-off switches used to send messages in Morse code. The message travels as a series of electrical pulses through a wire. The operator pushes the key’s lever down briefly to make a short signal, a dot, or holds the lever down for a moment to make a slightly longer signal, a dash. The sequence of dots and dashes represent letters and numbers. This key has a switch on the side called a circuit-closer that takes the key off-line when not in use. The so-called humpback design was uesd in early telegraph keys.

Date Made: ca 1865

Maker: Phelps, George M.

Location: Currently not on view

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


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: from Western Union Corporation

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: EM.331833Accession Number: 294351Catalog Number: 331833Collector/Donor Number: 03-35

Object Name: humpback keytelegraph key

Physical Description: brass (overall material)plastic (overall material)Measurements: overall: 3 1/2 in x 6 1/4 in x 3 1/8 in; 8.89 cm x 15.875 cm x 7.9375 cm


Record Id: nmah_881800

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