Railroad Telegraphy Devices

Shown below are more rare telegraphy devices used in railroad operations. See first page on railroad telegraphy for introductory information. These devices are from the Clyde Conrow collection. Information and photos are courtesy of Tom Stranko.

Above Left: A Western Union 1886 patent key. Above Right: A key manufactured by Western Electric Co, New York, Pat Dec 21, 1886.
Above Left: The high speed key used by Clyde's father, Byron, as an NYO&W telegrapher. Above Right: JH Bunnell Co USA patent side operating key (rare).

Above: Telegraph code practice unit. The insulated bakelite and aluminum cylinder rotates with a victrola-like clockwork mechanism that is adjustable for speed. A battery and sounder repeat the coded message for the person learning to decode. Different code cylinders were available to practice with. A later version of this training device used a 1/2 " paper tape with holes and slots cut out representing dots and dashes.

Above Left: A JH Bunnell code signal repeater, used at the end of a long wire to re-transmit the code with the original electrical strength. Above Right: A single line "switchboard" but allowing 3 instrument connections to the line. This board has an attached lightening arrestor. The manufacturer was Tillotson Co.
Above Left: Clyde pointing to a more standard 6 line switchboard that allows any of 9 instrument lines to be connected to any of the 6 wires coming into the building. Above Right: A "legless" key (possibly a wireless key) by Bunnell.

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

See more devices like this on Page Three.