Railroad Telegraphy Devices

Shown below are images and illustrations of more rare telegraphy devices used in railroad operations. See introductory page and second page on railroad telegraphy.

There were a lot of devices dedicated to connecting the sounders and keys to the telegraph wires or lines. These included various "relays" which could be considered an "amplifier" in principle. They allowed the weak DC (direct current) signals that came in on the lines to be converted into strong DC signals. There was a "local battery" power source at each office or yard tower that actually provided the operating current for the sounders and keys.

There was also a need to switch the telegraph instruments on the desk to different wires (not all wires went everywhere) and a need to protect the instruments (and the operators!) from occasional lightening hits.

Images are of devices from the Clyde Conrow collection. Information and photos are courtesy of Tom Stranko.

Above Left: A line switch from the Allegheny Valley Railroad Company. Above Right: A closeup of the marking.
Above Left: MESCO Relay. Above Right: Another telegraph relay.

Above Left: Illustration of a bent leg key. Above Middle: Illustration of a wedge pin cutout. Above Right: Illustration of a Western Union pin switch.

Thanks to Tom Stranko for the material on this page and to Clyde Conrow for allowing his collection to be photographed.