Telegraph set comprising a telegraph key, a relay and a register.
The key was used for the transmission of signals in the Morse electric telegraph system. To transmit signals the operator depressed a pivoted metal lever (the key) to complete an electric circuit and transmit current along the telegraph line. Releasing the key broke the circuit and cut off the current. Letters and numbers were represented by a sequence of short and long current pulses, transmitted according to a defined code. The most widely used code was generally known as "Morse code".
At the receiving end the sequence of current pulses activated the relay which in turn connected a battery to the register. The register displayed the received signals as long and short marks embossed on a moving paper tape. The operator could also interpret the signals by the sound of the register operating mechanism. The register was driven by falling weights.
The relay design was patented by Chester, New York, 1860.
Brass camelback key. Relay, of design patented by Chester of New York, with horizontal coils, brass fittings and terminals, all mounted on wooden baseboard. Register of embossing type, brass components, enclosed by wood-framed glass case. Key, relay and register all mounted on a common wooden baseboard, with scalloped edges and fitted with connecting terminals.
Donation from (Estate of) Mr John J. Thompson, 27 Apr 1915
Mr Charles T. Chester, 104 Centre Street, New York City, New York State, United States of America, 1870s
Relay is marked with a patent date of 1860. According to http://www.telegraph-office.com/pages/roger.html (accessed 18 Jan 2009), Charles T. Chester made telegraph equipment in New York City between 1872 and 1880 at 104 Centre Street.
Relay base engraved: "C. T. CHESTER PATENTED SEP 4 1860" and "1049" Register base engraved: "43"
Type of item
Exhibition Collection Management
376 mm (Length), 600 mm (Width), 230 mm (Height)
According to [Link 1] - accessed 3 December 2008