Morse key, c 1850-1870.
3 3 c m
actual image size: 32cm x 25cm

Morse key, c 1850-1870.

Exton, David

© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library


This early Morse key was used by the Post Office Telegraph Service. This key, which functions as a simple switch, is quite cumbersome in shape and size. As Morse keys evolved, they became increasingly sophisticated, developing into carefully engineered instruments. The Morse system required a skilled operator using a Morse key to interrupt the current from a battery into a wire circuit. At the other end a buzzer converted the electrical signals into sounds, which were manually converted back into letters by a trained operator.



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