Telegraph register designed by Alfred Vail   This site contains several articles that focus on U.S. Telegraph-History.
The majority of these articles first appeared in the "Key and Telegraph"
column of "The AWA Journal," the quarterly magazine of the
Antique Wireless Association     (A non-profit historical society.)
These web versions have been expanded to include additional information,
images and illustrations.   Some have evolved into comprehensive sites.
Other articles are original classic works by telegraph pioneers, engineers
and inventors.   Certain new articles will be added here in the future.

Appletons' Cyclopaedia of Applied Mechanics

     The TELEGRAPH   

A description of telegraph systems written primarily by Thomas A. Edison as published in Appletons' Cyclopaedia of Applied Mechanics
in 1880.
Caton Telegraph Instrument Factory

Early Manufacturers of Telegraph and Electrical Apparatus

An article and web site that lists U.S. telegraph manufacturers that were in operation prior to 1918. Also included are over 415 manufacturer ads with notes about the companies and people associated with them.

The First Telegraphic Message from California
When the Telegraph
Came to California

Two articles by James Gamble
from The Californian magazine, 1881 :

Early Reminiscences of the Telegraph
on the Pacific Coast

The first telegraph lines in California.


Wiring A Continent
The making of the
U.S. transcontinental telegraph line.

Charles Williams Jr.'s factory
109 Court Street, MA

Charles Williams Jr.

Charles Williams Jr. was an important telegraph instrument manufacturer. But, it was the experimental apparatus built at his machine shop that became historic for the U.S. telecommunications industry. His Boston factory is considered the birthplace of the telephone.

Part One:
Experimental Apparatus Made to Order


Part Two:
Human Voice Sent via Telegraph

A Western Union era
Phelps Key

George M. Phelps

19th century telegraph instrument maker and inventor for The American Telegraph Co. and Western Union.

Vibroplex Bug
manufacturered by
Horace G. Martin

Horace G. Martin

Telegrapher, inventor, and manufacturer best known for his invention of the Vibroplex Bug.

Western Eletric Mfg. Co.
logo on one of their early telegraph sounders

The Western Electric Manufacturing Co.

The history of the company that evolved from the needs and influence of Western Union into
the Western Electric Company.
The Vail Register
Vail Register

The telegraph register designed by
Alfred Vail that was used on the
first telegraph line between
Washington and Baltimore in 1844.

Bunnell Telegraphic & Electrical Co. catalog cover
Bunnell vs Bunnell

A Bunnell Telegraphic
and Electrical Co. catalog
is also viewable here.

J.H. Bunnell & Co. was the largest manufacturer
of telegraph instruments in the United States.
This article covers the history of two competing
Bunnell companies that merged in the early 1900s.
Dedication Ceremony
May 2, 1912
Harriman, NY

A Monument to
Charles Minot

The history of the monument erected
to commemorate the introduction of the
telegraph in U.S. railway service.

Franklin Pope

Franklin L. Pope

Engineer, inventor, telegrapher, explorer, writer, and an early partner with Thomas Edison.

Early binding post designs Relays, Keys,
Registers and Sounders

By Franklin Pope
From: The Telegrapher
July 27, 1872.

An early article that documents the evolution
of telegraph instruments in the U.S. and provides
a snapshot of its progress as of 1872.

Western Electric Manufacturing Co. Sounder
The Telegraph
factory of
John Dean Caton

The story of the Illinois State
Supreme Court Judge who brought
the telegraph to the mid-west
United States during the 1850s.
Barclay Twist Insulator
John C. Barclay :
Western Union's
Chief Engineer,
1902 - 1910.

The career and inventions of this
former telegrapher best known for
his work in printing telegraphy.

Bunnell Double Speed Key on a factory base.
The Bunnell
Double Speed Key:

Was it Really Introduced in 1888?

An important key design introduced during the
emerging semi-automatic telegraph key market.
A ca. 1906 Triumph
The Evolution
of a Triumph

The history of the most popular
telegraph key used in the U.S.

Samuel Morse
at the Academy of Music
of The Father

The last telegraph message by
Samuel Morse sent from the
Academy of Music,
New York - June 10, 1871.

Ribbon worn by telegraphers at the
1925 Convention held in New York City

The Old Time Telegraphers'
and Historical Association
The Society of the United States Military Telegraph Corps

An article that covers the history of two prestigious telegrapher organizations.

George W. Conkling

George Conkling:
Champion Telegrapher

The career of a famous telegrapher
and his association with some
unique telegraph keys.
The Bug Trade Mark

The Origin of the Word "Bug"

The technical and legal history of the name
given to semi-automatic transmitters.

Luther G.Tillotson

L. G. Tillotson & Co.

               and General Edwin S. Greeley

E. S. Greeley & Co.

Two successive companies that were major
telegraph manufacturers during the 19th century. Their business growth was directly influenced by the expansion of the U.S. railroad industry.
New Amplidan Key Drawing

The M.P. Pedersen/Amplidan Key

A popular maritime key with 19th century roots

Amplidan Key

Thomas Hall Catalog, 1881
Thomas Hall

An illustrated catalog of telegraphic and electrical instruments by Thomas Hall of Boston, MA, published in 1881.

Bunnell Telegraphic and Electrical Company Catalog
Bunnell Telegraphic and Electrical Co. Catalog

A catalog of telegraph instruments by the Bunnell Telegraphic and Electrical Company of New York, NY, published ca. 1901.

        A map showing all the telegraph lines in the U.S. as of 1848        

Click here to view this early map showing the
lines of  Morse's Electro-Magnetic Telegraph
that were in operation and being constructed
in the U.S. as of January, 1848.            
   From : The Weekly Herald, New York
January 29, 1848   

      Map showing the telegraph lines
 and stations in the U. S. as of 1853.        
Click here to view the map:
 Telegraph Stations in the United States,
the Canadas and Nova Scotia.
From : The Library of Congress,
Geography and Map Division,
Barr, Chas. B.
Published 1853

Transcontinental Telegraph Line
Click here to view the map:
 U.S. Transcontinental Telegraph Line 1861
The Atlantic and Pacific coasts were linked together by constructing
a line from the "Eastern Connection" at Omaha, Nebraska to the
"Western Connection" at Carson City, Nevada.
From: The New Naval and Military Map of the United States,
by J. Calvin Smith, J. M. Atwood, map engraver, Philadelphia, Pa. 1862.
"Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1862 by R.P. Smith."
Library of Congress Geography and Map Division, Washington, D.C.

A telegraph sounder
designed by G. M. Phelps

QSL Card
Copyright (c) by John Casale - W2NI
Troy, New York USA

Uncle Sam Postage Stamp.
Troy,N.Y. is considered the
'Home of Uncle Sam.'