As a public health precaution due to COVID-19, all Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo are temporarily closed. We are not announcing a reopening date at this time and will provide updates on our website and social media.

Telegraph Sounder

Telegraph Sounder

Usage conditions apply
Downloads
Description (Brief)
Telegraph sounders convert electrical pulses into audible sounds and are used to receive Morse code messages. The message travels as a series of electrical pulses through a wire. Short pulses make a dot, slightly longer pulses make a dash. The sequence of dots and dashes represent letters and numbers. The pulses energize the sounder’s electromagnets which move a lever-arm. The arm makes a loud “click” when it strikes a crossbar and the operator translates the pattern of sounds into the original language. John Ghegan was a long-time employee and inventor at Bunnell who bought into the company after Jesse Bunnell's death in 1899. Aside from continuing his inventive activity he eventually became president of the company.
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
telegraph receiver
telegraph sounder
date made
ca 1905
maker
J. H. Bunnell & Co.
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
brass (overall material)
rubber (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 3 1/2 in x 5 1/2 in x 3 in; 8.89 cm x 13.97 cm x 7.62 cm
ID Number
EM.332372
accession number
294351
catalog number
332372
Credit Line
from Western Union Corporation
See more items in
Work and Industry: Electricity
Communications
Telegraph Sounders
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