Where is it from?

Association locations map


Telegraph Register - Siemens Brothers, Inking, Victorian Telegraph Service, circa 1860s Object Reg. No: ST 022098

Telegraph inking register for receiving and recording telegraph signals.

In operation, the intermittent current generated by the received signals causes a small rotating wheel to be intermittently pressed on to a moving paper tape. The wheel is partially immersed in a small container of ink. The rotating wheel carries the ink to the paper and produces a series of long and short marks on the tape, with the length of each mark depending on whether the duration of the current flow is long (producing a dash) or short (producing a dot.)

The register carries the marks of the Victorian Telegraphic Service, which operated the telegraph system in Victoria from 1856 to 1869. It was used at Melbourne Observatory.
Object consists of a metal base at one end of which are two vertical wire coils forming electromagnets which are energised by the electrical signal received over the telegraph line. The rest of the base is occupied by a brass case housing the mechanism by which paper tape is moved past a small wheel at the end of a pivoted arm which moves in response to the electromagnets. The wheel is partially immersed in ink held in a small rectangular container, so that when the wheel is in contact with the tape, ink is carried on to the tape as the wheel rotates. The tape is supplied from a reel mounted above the register on a metal arm. The mechanism to move the tape is powered by a spring within the brass case which can be wound up using a key on a central square shaft.
Acquisition Information:
Transfer from Melbourne Observatory, 1945
Discipline: Technology
Dimensions: 440 mm (Height), 340 mm (Width), 240 mm (Length)
Weight: 9 kg (Weight)

More information

Tagged with: telegraphy
Themes this item is part of: The Australian telegraph network 1854-1877, Telegraphy Collection, Melbourne Observatory Collection, Information & Communication Collection, Positional Astronomy at Melbourne Observatory, Weights & Measures at Melbourne Observatory, Melbourne Observatory & Standard Time in Victoria, Astrographic Catalogue, Transits of Venus, 1874 & 1882, Buildings at Melbourne Observatory, Star Observations & Personal Equation, Meteorology at Melbourne Observatory, 1863-1908, Melbourne Observatory, 1863-1944, Geodetic Survey of Victoria, 1858-1872
Primary Classification: COMMUNICATIONS
Secondary Classification: Telegraphy
Tertiary Classification: output
Inscriptions: Marked in two places with a crown over "V.T.S." within a circle and numbered "401".
User: Victorian Telegraphic Service, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
User: Melbourne Observatory, South Yarra, Victoria, Australia

Add your comment

  • Museum Victoria does not provide valuations, for more information please visit the valuation infosheet
  • Please note that Museum Victoria staff will not normally respond to comments posted on our website.
Yes No