Two telegraph sounders and two sounder-screens, unknown maker, 1850-1950. One large screen in reddish wood with a short metal base. One small screen in dark brown wood with a tall metal base.
A telegraph sounder is an electromagnetic device for receiving telegraphs. When the sounder is activated by a telegraph key, the metal bar is released, making an audible 'click'. When the current from the telegraph key ends, the metal bar is pulled back to its resting position, it makes a 'clack'. This differentiation was useful for enabling operators to distinguish between the long and short signals of Morse code. The default status for sounders was 'on', so that operators always knew it was working, and could easily identify if there was a fault in the wire. The sounder screens were used to project the sounds towards the operator, particularly useful in noisy offices.
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overall (small screen): 310 mm x 105 mm x 150 mm, 2.46 kg
overall (large screen): 435 mm x 275 mm x 175 mm, 3.24 kg
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