The museum is open Fridays through Tuesdays 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free timed-entry passes are required. Review our latest visitor safety guidelines.

Telegraph Key

Telegraph Key

<< >>
Usage conditions apply
Downloads
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.
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
telegraph key
date made
ca 1884
maker
Electrical Supply Co.
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
brass (overall material)
rubber (overall material)
fiber (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 2 1/2 in x 3 in x 6 in; 6.35 cm x 7.62 cm x 15.24 cm
ID Number
EM.221143
catalog number
221143
accession number
41460
Credit Line
from Pennsylvania Railroad Company
See more items in
Work and Industry: Electricity
Communications
Telegraph Keys
Data Source
National Museum of American History
Nominate this object for photography.   

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.

Comments

Add a comment about this object