Wheatstone automatic tape transmitter, 1840-1860

Made:
1840-1860 in England
Wheatstone automatic tape transmitter, c1850. Three quarter top view. Grey background

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

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

Wheatstone automatic tape transmitter, c1850. Three quarter top view. Grey background
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Wheatstone automatic tape transmitter, unknown maker, England, 1840-1860.

Alexander Bain invented the perforated tape telegraph transmitter but Charles Wheatstone took the idea for his own automatic telegraph system. It economised on line capacity because the transmitter could send much faster than a human operator. A hand-operated punch was used to prepare the perforated slip: two holes opposite each other indicated a Morse dot and two holes at an angle indicated a dash. At the receiving end, the message was recorded on a Morse inker. The system was widely used in Britain and many other countries in the later nineteenth century and became synonymous with Wheatstone. In developed and motorised form it remained in use until the mid-twentieth century.

Details

Category:
Telecommunications
Object Number:
1964-83
Materials:
copper (alloy), metal (unknown), textile and wood (unidentified)
type:
telegraph peripheral
taxonomy:
  • component - object
  • telegraph instrument
credit:
Donated by BT Heritage and Archives