Carpathia Switch Lever

Carpathia Switch Lever

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This switch lever was part of RMS Carpathia's wireless radio apparatus; most likely it was a manual breaker for the antenna connection to the radio. It would have been opened in storms to prevent lightning from striking the radio itself. It was damaged during the rescue of Titanic's passengers, and the next time the ship was in Boston, Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company employee Harry Cheetham went aboard Carpathia to service the wireless. At the time, shipboard radios belonged to the radio company, not the shipping lines.
Currently not on view
Object Name
radio switch
date made
Marconi Wireless Telegraph Co. Ltd.
overall: 10 in x 5/8 in x 3/16 in; 25.4 cm x 1.5875 cm x.47625 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
from Harry R. Chetham
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Work and Industry: Electricity
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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Thanks for the information, Albert! We recently located an image of the type of Marconi key that this lever came from and have added that to this record.
Hi there, The lever shown above is from the left side of a Marconi morse key, Similar ones were used on Titanic although they had two. There are many online pictures of that particular key but they need searching. I have made a copy of this key so I am very familiar with it. The lever is actually a hinged cut out safety switch which was surprisingly supposed to be connected to the deckhead by a cord to the small brass loop on the side, so that the switch could be found in total darkness. I have only found one picture showing this in place, but I can understand it not being popular with operators. The one shown could easily be the one that Harold Cottam used to speak to Titanic, particularly if he had only one, could also be the reason why it was removed, Keys were normally screwed to the bench.

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