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Telegraph Key

Telegraph Key

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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 was made as a scarf pin but is fully functional and could send messages.
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
telegraph key
date made
ca 1900
maker
Ways, C. I.
Physical Description
brass (overall material)
mother-of-pearl (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 1/2 in x 5/8 in x 1 3/4 in; 1.27 cm x 1.5875 cm x 4.445 cm
ID Number
EM.313155
catalog number
313155
accession number
177205
Credit Line
from C. I. Ways
See more items in
Work and Industry: Electricity
Communications
Telegraph Keys
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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