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Telegraph Instrument - Henley, Double-Needle, circa 1855 Object Reg. No: ST 007090

Summary:
Double-needle magneto-electric telegraph instrument patented in 1848 and manufactured by Messrs Henley and Forster in England. The case is missing, revealing the mechanism

The complete instrument had a large square dial on the sloping top of a wooden case, with two needles pivoted side by side on the dial. Pressing either of two levers, one on each side of the case, rotated a coil between the poles of a magnet and generated a pulse of electric current which was transmitted along the telegraph line to the receiving indstrument. There the pulse caused a deflection of one of the needles on the dial. The pattern of needle deflections indicated to the operator which letter of the alphabet was being received.

This instrument is an example of a double-needle telegraph system which did not require any source of electrical power such as a battery. The system was not widely used but was in operation on the Adelaide-Semaphore line in South Australia in the 1850s before being superseded by morse instruments.
Description:
Mechanism of instrument. Normally housed in wooden case with sloping top surrounding a square dial. Two needles mounted side by side on dial. Dial marked with letters of the alphabet and corresponding needle deflection sequences. Two levers with paddle handles, normally projecting from front of case, below front edge of sloping top. One lever on each side of instrument. Levers connected to coils which rotate between magnets. All mounted on wooden base.
Acquisition Information:
Donation from Mr John Thompson, 1915
Discipline: Technology
Dimensions: 310 mm (Height), 575 mm (Width), 660 mm (Length)

More information

Tagged with: telegraphy
Themes this item is part of: J.J. Thompson - donor of telegraph objects to the Museum, Telegraphy Collection, Information & Communication Collection
Primary Classification: COMMUNICATIONS
Secondary Classification: Telegraphy
Tertiary Classification: components
Inscriptions: In centre of square dial:
"HENLEY'S PATENT"
Manufacturer: Henley & Forster, England, Great Britain, circa 1855
Patentee: Mr William Henley, London, England, Great Britain, 1848

In 1848, W.T. Henley took out a patent for their double needle telegraph.
Collector: Mr John Thompson, Armadale, Victoria, Australia, 27 Apr 1915
References: http://books.google.com.au/books?id=6YwDAAAAQAAJ&;pg=PA107&lpg=PA107&dq=Henley+and+Forster+telegraph&source=bl&ots=9uPJFWceY8&sig=TvXar2W4xQurUHp3QEQ-ouy1ka4&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=1&ct=result - accessed 3 December 2008

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