Telegraph Key

Telegraph Key

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Description (Brief)
Telegraph keys are electrical switches used to send messages in code. The message travels as a series of electrical pulses through a wire. This British key was designed for testing underwater telegraph cables. The operator used the key to apply a charge then remove the charge from the cable to make certain the circuit worked. One handle is missing from this specimen.
Currently not on view
Object Name
telegraph key
submarine telegraph key
Other Terms
telegraph key; Telegraphy
Muirhead & Co. Ltd.
Physical Description
brass (overall material)
metal (overall material)
rubber (overall material)
overall: 4 in x 9 1/2 in x 4 1/4 in; 10.16 cm x 24.13 cm x 10.795 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
from the French Cable Company
See more items in
Work and Industry: Electricity
Telegraph Keys
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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