Partrick & Carter "Marean" telegraph repeater

Partrick & Carter "Marean" telegraph repeater

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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 ornate repeater was designed by Morell Marean, manager of the Western Union Office in Washington, DC. The unit was made by the Philadelphia firm of Partrick & Carter around 1880. According to a note found with the repeater it was used in a telegraph station on or near Cape Henry, Virginia.
Currently not on view
Object Name
telegraph repeater
telegraph relay
date made
ca 1880
Partrick, Carter & Co.
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
cast iron (overall material)
zinc (overall material)
rubber (overall material)
brass (overall material)
overall: 4 1/2 in x 8 in x 4 1/4 in; 11.43 cm x 20.32 cm x 10.795 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Transfer from the US Weather Bureau
See more items in
Work and Industry: Electricity
Telegraph Relays & Repeaters
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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