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A Brief History of Telegraphy

A Brief History of Telegraphy

A Short History of the Galvanometer

A Short History of the Galvanometer


Image of ABC TELEGRAPH COMMUNICATOR TESTER, 1850's

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ABC TELEGRAPH COMMUNICATOR TESTER, 1850's

The ABC telegraph was an early form of communication where an arm was turned to a letter sometimes by a pulse, and sometimes by buttons opposite each letter, the arm being held by a return spring and latched on the letter required, a button was pressed releasing the arm which returned back to the beginning sending a number of pulses relating to the letter chosen i.e. the letter C would give 3 pulses the letter B would produce 2 pulses. The receiving unit would be driven by an internal solenoid counting the arm up to the required letter, after each letter was sent it was necessary to reset the unit and start again, sometimes this was achieved automatically. Such units were used while Morse code was being devised, around the 1840's, and continued in some countries long afterwards. This unit was simply a testing device for checking received signals only.

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A0232

Image of L.DOIGNON CHARACTER PRINTER , 1880's

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L.DOIGNON CHARACTER PRINTER , 1880's

The printer used Baudot's 5 bit code, using five telephone lines, to receive a signal that could be printed on a strip of paper. It was all driven by an electric motor. On receipt of a start signal the five bit code would latch five solenoids that would enable the mechanism to print a character by turning the wheel and engaging the correct letter. After printing a character the solenoids released ready for the next one.
Designed by M.Carpentier and known as a 'Rapide' Receiver.

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A0234

Image of BLICKENSDERFER TELEPRINTER No 5, 1890

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BLICKENSDERFER TELEPRINTER No 5, 1890

This machine has been converted to a Teleprinter from the famous No5 machine, hence no keyboard. Instead are 5 solenoids with linkages to decode the 5 bit code into text. The whole machine is driven by a pulley connected to an electric motor (not present).
In 1891, George C. Blickensderfer (1850-1917) invented a small portable writing machine that featured the ability to change type styles at will. This unique design formed the basis of a typewriter manufacturing business that lasted almost thirty years.
The 5 was one of the first truly portable typewriters with a full keyboard.

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A0756

Image of CARPENDIER PUNCH TAPE READER, 1890's

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CARPENDIER PUNCH TAPE READER, 1890's

Punch tape reader for five bit Baudot coded tape, as the tape is pulled through the trough five fingers are able to move upwards into the holes in the tape, contacts inside the unit detect this and pass on the information to other equipment.

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A0235

Image of DOUBLE PLATE SOUNDER, 1900's

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DOUBLE PLATE SOUNDER, 1900's

In the early days of Morse all railway stations were equipped with the new morse code technology. Hearing the clatter of a Morse receiver, known as a sounder, could be a problem in a noisy environment. A gentleman called Charles Bright invented 'Bright's Bells' in 1855, a crude version of the exampe shown here.

The double plate sounder has two solenoids and clappers hitting two plates of differing tones. By placing it in a hood the audibility of the dots and dashes would be greatly improved. Also provided is a relay which enables the unit to be powered locally, removing the problem of the loss of power over long telegraph wires.

Charles Tilson Bright (later Sir Charles Bright) was to become one of Britain's foremost telegraph engineers in the nineteenth century, responsible for major advances in submarine cable technology.

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A0227

Image of POST OFFICE INKER No. 128, 1900's

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POST OFFICE INKER No. 128, 1900's

Inkers were used to print dots and dashes on to a strip of paper to enable easier reading; known also as a Direct Writer. This item uses a clockwork motor to drive the paper forward

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A0242

Image of ATM STOP START INKER, 1910's

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ATM STOP START INKER, 1910's

Morse Inker for recording dots and dashes on a strip of paper.
This unit can be started automatically and then stopped at the end of the message, however as it is powered by a clockwork motor to drive the paper forward it would still need constant attention.
Known as a Direct Inker ( does not include key or Wheatstone needle ).

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A0243

Image of NON-POLARISED MORSE SOUNDER, 1920's

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NON-POLARISED MORSE SOUNDER, 1920's

A simple Morse Sounder used for receiving Morse. It may have been made by Gamage who specialized in telegraphy equipment in the 1920's. Non polarized unit similar to a design used by the Post Office and purchased by those who wished to learn the 'Art' of Morse telegraphy. And indeed it was an art. Morse code requires very high skills, strange that when it became adopted as a standard for communication by Samuel Morse in 1844 many other simpler forms of sending characters by wire were being developed, and yet Morse surpassed them all, probably because of the desire to improve or own a skill that others could not achieve, in today's world skills are avoided by modern computing. It was possible for the operator to distinguish whether the arm of the unit was up or down, by the different sound as the spaces between the dot or dash identified the end of a character, spaces between words could also be given as larger gaps, but most skilled operators omit this and join all the words up, making it important to write down what is heard immediately to avoid confusion.

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A0887

Image of POST OFFICE POLARISED SOUNDER, 1890's

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POST OFFICE POLARISED SOUNDER, 1890's

Receiving instrument for Morse code, invented by CC Vyle in the late 1800's and in use until the 1960's.

A bar (armature) is moved between two stops, pulled down by a permanent magnet positioned underneath the cores of two coils; offsetting this force is an adjustable spring pulling the armature upwards. If the coils are energised by a positive current it assists the magnet and pulls the armature down. A reverse current defeats the magnetic force and allows the armature to rise. The same principal is used in polarised relays. The device can be adjusted such that the tension will allow the bar to stick on the bottom stop until a reverse current is applied. Adjusting the spring can also vary the current needed to operate the armature, this is useful in certain applications. The sounder's advantage lies in its sensitivity, requiring very low current to move the bar (armature), normally a positive current would give a dot or a dash and a negative current a space. Non Polarised Sounders do not have a magnet.

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A0229

Image of WHEATSTONE NEEDLE TELEGRAPHY STATION, 1930's

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WHEATSTONE NEEDLE TELEGRAPHY STATION, 1930's

In 1851, Samuel Morse and his code was accepted around the world. (See 'A brief History of Telegraphy' above)
Devices for sending and receiving intelligent information were needed to inprove communication on the railways. One such piece of apparatus was the Needle Telegraph, devised by William Fothergill Cooke and Charles Wheatstone, in 1936, from an idea by Baron Pawel Schilling, demonstrated around 1832.
Information could be read if a needle was moved to the left or right, on this model the movement can also be heard hitting the plates on either side giving different tones. The single needle unit was a further development of Wheatstone and Cookes 5 needle system, which did not use Morse Code, and was replaced by the single needle system, which would be used in signal boxes around the World for the next 100 years.

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A1235

Image of SINGLE NEEDLE TELEGRAPH  (WHEATSTONE NEEDLE), 1930's

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SINGLE NEEDLE TELEGRAPH (WHEATSTONE NEEDLE), 1930's

Information can be read if a needle is moved to the left or right. The single needle unit was a further development of Wheatstone and Cookes 5 needle system, which did not use Morse Code, and was replaced by the single needle system. This unit is clearly marked with the complete alphabet in Morse code on its face, and was probably used by the British Post Office.

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A0228

Image of RAF MORSE INKER, 1930's

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RAF MORSE INKER, 1930's

Morse inker which transferred Morse Code into dots and dashes printed onto a strip of paper.
Driven by a clockwork mechanism to drive the paper forward.
This unit was used by the R.A.F. between the wars.
Known also as a Local Inker ( when it does not include key or galvanometer ).

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A0233

Image of GPO NON-POLARISED 20 Ohm  SOUNDER, 1930's

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GPO NON-POLARISED 20 Ohm SOUNDER, 1930's

Post Office Polarised Sounder

Receiving instrument for Morse code, invented by CC Vyle in the late 1800ís and was in use until the 1960ís.

A bar (armature) is moved between two stops, pulled down the cores of two coils, offsetting this force is an adjustable spring pulling the armature upwards.
If the coils are energised by a current it pulls the armature down.
Adjusting the spring can also vary the current needed to operate the armature, normally a positive current would give a dot or dash and no current a space.
Non Polarised Sounders do not have a magnet.

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A0803

Image of CREED 7E TELEPRINTER, 1931

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CREED 7E TELEPRINTER, 1931

Frederick George Creed was born in Canada and spent the early part of his life working on Morse equipment. He was convinced he could do better. He then moved to Scotland and developed a method of sending messages by text. Later he formed Creed and Company Ltd, and in 1921 they were at Telegraph House East Croydon.

The 7E series of machines used a code based on the Murray code; they were very successful and were used throughout the war at places like Bletchley Park. Creed died in 1957. The 7 series finished in 1958 and this unit was converted to 240 volts AC in 1962.

Donated by Mr Geoff Robinson

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A0936

Image of CREED TELEGRAM TELEPRINTER  47B, 1950's

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CREED TELEGRAM TELEPRINTER 47B, 1950's

Used in Post Offices throughout the world for typing Telegrams. The Creed model 7 page teleprinter, whilst not the first
teleprinter to be produced by Creed & Company Limited is,
without doubt, the most well known of their machines, and is
considered by many to be the teleprinter that helped the Allies
to win World War 2. Many thousands of model 7ís saw service
with the Armed Forces, sending vital messages around the
world, and sending top secret messages to and from the code
breaking teams at Bletchley Park in Buckinghamshire.

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A0098

Image of TIN CONTAINING ROLLS  OF GUMMED TAPE, 1950's

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TIN CONTAINING ROLLS OF GUMMED TAPE, 1950's

Paper tape used in telegraphy machines, such as the Creed 47B item NoA0098. Not to be confused with punch tape, the paper is too narrow for this, the gum is used to stick it to the Telegram sheet. As it says on the tin!

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A0531


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