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Catalog Data

Physical Description:
brass (overall material)
mahogany (overall material)
Measurements:
overall: 1 1/2 in x 3 in x 6 in; 3.81 cm x 7.62 cm x 15.24 cm
Object Name:
telegraph key
Date made:
1843
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 is an example of the earliest type of key used by Samuel Morse and Alfred Vail.
Credit Line:
from Western Union Telegraph Co.
ID Number:
EM.181410
Catalog number:
181410
Accession number:
31652
See more items in:
Work and Industry: Electricity
Communications
Telegraph Keys
Exhibition:
Discovery and Revelation
Exhibition Location:
National Museum of American History
Data Source:
National Museum of American History
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746a5-3333-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:nmah_706715