Cooke and Wheatstone five-needle telegraph

Made:
1837 in England
inventor:
CHARLES WHEATSTONE
and
William Fothergill Cooke

Buy this image as a print 

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Cooke and Wheatstone's earliest (five-needle) telegraph, England, 1837.

The first public telegraph service in the world began in 1839, with this device at one end and a similar instrument at the other. Running 13 miles (21 km) alongside the Great Western Railway from London Paddington to West Drayton, it made use of Oersted's recent discovery that an electric current flowing in a conductor could move a nearby compass needle. With the addition of a suitable coding system, it found an ideal market in the developing railway network, and was the first practical use of electricity for long-distance communication.

On display

Science Museum: Making the Modern World Gallery

If you are visiting to see this object, please contact us in advance to make sure that it will be on display.

Related people

Details

Category:
Telecommunications
Object Number:
1876-1272
type:
telegraphs
credit:
HM Postmaster General

Cite this page

Rights

We encourage the use and reuse of our collection data.


Data in the title, made, maker and details fields are released under Creative Commons Zero


Descriptions and all other text content are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence

Using our data

Download

Download catalogue entry as json

View manifest in IIIF viewer

Add to Animal Crossing Art Generator

Download manifest IIIF

Our records are constantly being enhanced and improved, but please note that we cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information shown on this website.