Bain's chemical telegraph, 1850.

Made:
1850 in England
maker:
Unknown
inventor:
Alexander Bain
Alexander Bain's chemical telegraph, England, 1850. Three quarter view whole object on graduated grey background. From Alexander Bain's chemical telegraph, England, 1850. Three quarter top view whole object on graduated grey background. Alexander Bain's chemical telegraph, England, 1850. Detail view on grey background. From a colour transparency in the

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Alexander Bain's chemical telegraph, England, 1850. Three quarter view whole object on graduated grey background. From
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Alexander Bain's chemical telegraph, England, 1850. Three quarter top view whole object on graduated grey background.
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Alexander Bain's chemical telegraph, England, 1850. Detail view on grey background. From a colour transparency in the
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Alexander Bain's chemical telegraph, unknown maker, England, 1850. Includes key not shown on photograph.

Alexander Bain's chemical telegraph, unknown maker, England, 1850.

This instrument was used by the Electric Telegraph Company for a while instead of a needle type receiver. Messages were prepared by perforating a paper strip, or slip. The code used was similar to Morse. The slip was then fed through the transmitting instrument by clockwork. When the spring mechanism inside the instrument detected a perforated hole, it completed an electrical connection, which would be transmitted to the receiving instrument. The receiver comprised a roll of dampened and chemically treated paper slip driven by clockwork beneath a steel 'style' connected to the line wire. Each electric pulse left a mark on the dampened strip, due to the chemicals it had been treated with. Thus a code could be used to transmit messages. Alexander Bain was the originator of perforated paper tape used for telegraph purposes.

Details

Category:
Telecommunications
Object Number:
1888-198
Materials:
brass (copper, zinc alloy), paper (fibre product), steel (metal) and wood (unidentified)
type:
telegraph
taxonomy:
  • component - object
credit:
Donated by H.M. Postmaster General