American Telegraph Instrument Makers, 1837-1900

by Roger W. Reinke

Copyright 1986, Roger W. Reinke

Updated 2022, 2023, Doug Palmer



Dates shown are only approximate and are based on trade catalogs, patent dates, advertisements and other ephemera.


"General line" products include at least keys, sounders and relays.

(A) May have been an agent only, and probably not an instrument maker.

(V) Verification sought that this firm actually made instruments.

(S) Succeeded by ... "General line" products include at least keys, sounders and relays.


American Electrical Works, 61 Stewart St. Providence, R.I. c. 1880 "Steiner" keys

...Same... 461 Clark Ave. Cleveland, 1894

Anders, George L. [See Welch & Anders]

Anderson Bros. Peekskill, N.Y., c. 1875, Practice sets

Avery, Thomas C., New York, 1848, Keys

Ayers, Tillotson & Co. (A), 333 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, 1865-67, General line

Bain, Alexander, 1849-51, Chemical Printers For O'Reilly's lines.

Barber, Palmer & Jones, Utica, N.Y., c. 1875, (S) Utica Fire Alarm.

Barnes, Edmund F., 1847, "Columbian" Register (1)

Barton, Enos M., [See Gray & Barton]

Baxter, William, [See Speedwell Iron]

Blattner (A) St.Louis, 1851, General line

Bliss, George H. & Co., (V) 41 Third Ave., Chicago, · 1873-76, General line, (S) Western Electric.

...Same... 220 Kinzie St., Chicago, 1876-79, General line ...Same...

Bliss, George H., 76 Market St., Chicago, 1879, General line, As Electric Mdse. Co.

Bliss, Tillotson & Co. (A) 126, then 171 S. Clark, Chicago, 1868-70, General line

...Same... 247 S. Water St., Chicago, 1870-74, General line, (S) Gee. H. Bliss & Co.

...Same... 54 S. Fourth St., Philadelphia, 1874, General line

Bradley, Dr. Leverett, 7 Exchange PI., Jersey City, 1867-73, General line, Also made fire alarm.

Buell, Nelson A., 26-27 Waring Block, Cleveland, 1872-84, General line, (S) W.B. Cleveland.

Buell, M.A., 26 Waring Block, Cleveland, 1870-76, "Eureka" sounders "...and Sons" variant.

...Same... 86 Bank St., Cleveland, 1876, General line

...Same... 76 Frankfort St., Cleveland, 1876-82, General line

...Same... 144 Superior St., Cleveland, 1882-84, General line, (S) W.B. Cleveland.

Bulkley, Charles S., 1848, Registers (2)

Bunnell, Jesse H., With Tillotson, 1876-78.

Bunnell, J.H. & Co., 70 Courtlandt St., New York, 1878-80, General line, [See Partrick, Bunnell]

...Same... 106-108, then New York, 1880- General line

...Same... 112 Liberty St., New York -19?? General line (3)

Burrell, Samuel J., [See Merchant's Mfg.]

Burritt, Joseph & Son, Ithaca, N.Y., 1845, Registers

Calahan, Edward A., New York, 1867, Printers, Improved Law's ticker.

California Electric Power Co, 412 Market St. San Francisco, 1875-1877, General Line. Offshoot of Electrical Construction & Maintenance Co. Paul Seiler & Joseph Herz Co-Partners.

California Electrical Works, 134 Sutter St., San Francisco, 1877-1902 ,General line. George S. Ladd President, Paul Seiler Superintendent of Manufacturing. James Gamble on Board of Directors.

Cardwell, Dr. G.A., New York, 1896-, Keys and sounders

Carter, Franklin S. [See Partrick & Carter]

Caton Instrument Shop, Ottawa, 111. 1851-72 General line (4) (S) Western Electric.

Channing, Dr. W.F., [See Farmer, Moses G.]

Chester, Charles T., 104 Centre St., New York, 1855-58, General line, John N. joined 1858.

Chester, C.T & J.N., 104 Centre St., New York, 1858-71, General line, John N. died 1871.

Chester, Charles T., 104 Centre St., New York, 1872-80, General line (5)

Chester, Partrick & Co., 38 S. Fourth St., Philadelphia, 1868-72, General line, (6) (S) Partrick, Bunnell. (Stephen Chester was the brother of Charles T. Chester)

Chubbuck, A.S., Hotel St., Utica, N.Y., 1865-69, General line Western Union supplier.

Chubbuck, S.W. Hotel St., Utica, N.Y., 1845-69, General line

Clark, James J., Philadelphia, 1845-61, General line, LL...and Sons" variant.

Clark, William, Philadelphia, 1846-47, "Harp" registers James' father.

Clark, J.J. & Co., 19 E. 20th St., New York, 1861-68, General line Harrisburg in 1868.

Clark & Splitdorf, New York, 1861-1868, General Line, Harrisburg in 1868

Cleveland, W.B., (V) 144 Superior St. S., Cleveland, 1884-, Practice sets Manager at Hicks & Shawk.

Cooperative Mfg Co., (V) 216'/2 Walnut St., Philadelphia, 1871-76, General line

...Same... (V) 218 Pear St., Philadelphia, 1876, General line

Crain, George H. & Co., (V) 145 S. Clark St., Chicago, c. 1871

Davis, Daniel Jr., Boston, 1842-48, Relays (S) Palmer & Hall.

Davis, William E., 319 Newark Ave., Jersey City, 1869-74 General line Elegant machining.

...Same... 341 Newark Ave. ...Same... 1874- "Uncle Sam" sounder

Davis & Watts, Baltimore, 1878-1884, General Line. (@ Viaduct Mfg. Co.)

Day, S.F & Co., Ballston Spa, N.Y.,c. 1865, General line

Day, W.E. & Co. (A) Pittsfield, Mass. ,1876, General line

Decker [See Lannert & Decker]

Delaney Patent Relay Co., 61 Broadway, New York, 1881, Relays and sounders

De Mier, John R., Coulterville, 111. 1877, Relay "cut-out"

Donaldson, Dr. R.B., Washington, 1842-48, Relays (S) Palmer & Hall.

DuBois, Charles H. & Son, 61 Ann St., New York, 1850-88, General line

Durant, Charles, 86 Nassau St., New York, 1869, "Nonpareil" Relay Pope connection?

Edison & Murray, 10 Ward St., Newark, N.J., 1869-73, Registers, keys (7)

Edison & Hamblet, 40 Hanover St., Boston, c. 1868, "Magneto Telegraph"

Edison & Unger, c. 1873

Edmands & Hamblet, 40 Hanover St, Boston, c. 1868, "Magneto"telegraph

Electrical Construction & Maintenance Co., 134 Sutter St. San Francisco, 1871-77, General line (S) California Electrical Works. George S. Ladd President

Electrical Supply Co., 109 Liberty St., New York, 1875-85 ,General line Also made "Prosch" key.

Electric Improvement Co., Galesburg, Ill,. c. 1872, (S) Western Electric.

Electric Merchandising Co., (A) 76 Market St., Chicago, 1879, General line, George H. Bliss, Mgr.

Electric Telegraph Works, (V) 2nd & Chestnut Sts., Philadelphia, c. 1871, (S) Fleming, Potter.

Empire Electrical Mfg Co., 27-38 Walnut St., Brooklyn, c. 1887, "Snapper" sounders

Erpelding, J. ,[See Huttman, W.E.]

Facer, W.E., 48 S. 4th St., Philadelphia, c. 1868, General line

Farmer, Moses G., Boston, 1852-57, Repeaters (8)

Farmer & Woodman, Boston, 1857-62, Repeaters

Flemming, Potter & Co., Pine & Chestnut Sts., Philadelphia, 1870-71, General line

...Same... 2nd & Chestnut Sts., Philadelphia, 1871- ...Same...

Foote [See Shawk & Foote]

Foote, Pierson & Co., 82-84 Fulton St., New York, 1896-, General line

Fowler [See Lewis & Fowler]

Frederick, Pearce & Co. ,(A) New York

Frey, Joseph J.B., 213 Church St., New York, 1870-, Self-closing key With A, Illig.

Gaynor Electric Co., (A) Louisville, c. 1875, Registers

Gilliland & Co. ,(A) 41 Dey St., New York, 1875, General line

Gold & Stock Telegraph Co., 195 Broadway, (9) New York, 1876, Printers (10)

Gray & Barton, (A) 162 S. Water St., Chicago, 1869, General line, Elisha Gray, inventor.

...Same... 479 State St., Chicago, 1870-72 ...Same... (S) Western Electric.

Greeley, E.S. & Co., 5 & 7 Dey St., New York, 1885-96, General line, (S) Foote, Pierson & Co.

Grinnell, H.B. & Co., (A) 7 Murray St., New York, 1875-78

Hall, Thomas, Boston, 1846-66, Keys,relays, (S) Palmer & Hall.

Hamblet [See Edmands & Hamblet]

Hatteroth, Dr. William, San Francisco, 1870's, Electrical, Telegraph, and Surgical Instruments

Henning, R., Ottawa Illinois, Robert Henning was Superintendant at Caton Instrument Shops

Hicks, George B., 144 Superior St., Cleveland, 1858-62, Repeaters

Hicks & Shawk (A) ...Same... ...Same... 1869-84, General line (11)

Hinds & Williams, 318 Washington St., Boston, 1850-56, General line, (S) Charles Williams, Jr.

Hochhausen, W., New York, c. 1875, Keys, sounders

House, Royal E., 1848-, Printers, Made by J.B. Richards.

Hughes, David E., 1855-59, Printers, (S) G.M. Phelps.

Huttman, William E., 154 S. Water St., Chicago, c. 1867, "Made to Order" With Erpelding, J.

Illig, A., [See Frey, J.J.B.]

d'lnfreville, George, New York, 1881 Keys

Jenkins, M.R. Browning, Mo., 1886, "DoubleActing" key Made by Bunnell.

Johnson, W.H., Louisville, c. 1870, Sounders

Jones [See Barber, Palmer]

Jones [See Pearce & Jones]

Jones, C.E. & Bro., 58 Pike's Opera House, Cincinnati, 1878-80 General line

...Same... 51 W. Fourth St. Same 1880-82 Same

...Same... Carlisle Bldg. Same 1882-87 Same

Jones Electrical Mfg. Co., (A) New York Box Relays Made by Bunnell.

Keeling, J.S., 16 Broadway, New York, 1865-67, General line

Kent, Edward N., 116 John St, New York, 1845-1850, Registers & Relays. Made the first register to be used in Germany

Kline [See Nickolaus & Kline]

Knox & Shain, Philadelphia, c. 1850-1877, Keys, Sounders, Registers, & Surveying Instruments

Lannert & Decker, Cleveland, 1876-77, General line

Lannert, J.A., Cleveland, 1877-81, Keys & sounders, (S) Lannert & Decker.

Laws, Dr. S.S., New York, 1866, Printers Gold report'g ticker, built by Chester.

Lewis & Fowler Mfg. Co., 27-35 Walworth St., Brooklyn, 1886-87, "Concklin's" keys & Sdrs, (S) Empire Electrical Mfg. Co.

Longstreet, J.H., 9 Barclay St., New York, 1880-1888, Keys & Sounders

Lundberg, William. San Francisco, 1863-1871, Sold his business to Electrical Construction & Maintenance Co. in 1871

Lyman, A.B., 911/2 Seneca St., Cleveland, 1876-80, General line, "Phil Sheridan" line.

...Same... 36 S. Water St. Same 1880-94 Same (S) I.H. Moses.

Mack, FG. & Co. (A) 55'h Frankfort St., 1877-

Manhattan Electrical Supply Co., 54 Water St, New York, 1880, General line, "MESCO" later variation.

...Same... 32 Courtlant St. Same 1888-

Merchant's Mfg. & Constr'n Co. 50 Broad St., New York, 1872-76, Printers, Sam, J. Burrell, Sup't.

...Same... 40 Broad St. Same 1876 Same

Mona Manufacturing Co., PO Box 178, Newark, 1874, "Snapper" sounders

Moses, I.H., 36 S., Water St., Cleveland, 1888-97, Keys and sounders

Murray [See Edison & Murray]

National Electric Co,. New York, c. 1890, General line

New Haven Clock Co., 29 Murray St., New York, 1883-90, General line, (S) National Electric?

Nickolaus & Kline, c. 1876, "Monitor" relay

Norton Telegraph Works, Broadway & Broome St., New York, 1852-55, General line (S) Charles T. Chester.

Palmer [See Barber, Palmer]

Palmer & Barber, Utica, c. 1875, (S) Utica Fire Alarm.

Palmer & Hall, New York 1847-49

...Same... Boston 1850

Partrick [See Chester, Partrick]

Partrick, Bunnell & Co., 38 S. Fourth St., Philadelphia, 1872-75, General line (S) Partrick & Carter.

...Same... 22 Dey St., New York, 1874-75, Same

Partrick & Carter, 38 S. Fourth St., Philadelphia, 1867-76, General line

...Same... 114 S. Second St., Same 1876- Same

...Same... 125 S. Second St., Same 1891-97 Same

Pearce & Jones, 64-66 John St., New York, c. 187,5 General line

Pearce, R.K. & Co., (A) 54 S. Fourth St., Philadelphia, 1878, General line

...Same... 38 S. Fourth St., Same 1879-, Same, Bought Tillotson's office.

Pennsylvania Railroad Co., Altoona Shops, Altoona, Pa., c. 1880, General line

Phelps, George M., Troy, N.Y, 1855-71, General line

Phelps, William P., Same, With George Phelps.

Pierson, E.M., c. 1860, Repeaters

Pope, Edison & Co., 78-80 Broadway, New York, c. 1869, (S) F.L. Pope & Co.

Pope, F.L. & Co., 194 Fulton St., New York, 1869-72, General Line, "Nonpareil" instruments.

...Same... 38 Vesey St., Same 1873-74, Same

...Same... 80 Broadway, Same 1874-, Same

Pope, R.W., Box 5278, New York, c. 1876, "Snapper" sounders

Post & Co., Cincinnati, 1880-, General line

Potter [See Fleming, Potter]

Putt, D.W. & Co., Wellsville, 0h., 1870-74, Practice Sets.

Redding Electrical Co., 30 Hanover St., Boston, 1884-85, General line

Redding, Jerome & Co., Same, Same 1877-82, Same, (S) Redding Electrical?

Richards, J.B., 621 Grand St., New York, 1854, Registers [See House, Royal E.]

Rogers, H.D. & Co., (A) Cincinnati

Rogers, Henry J., 1850, "lmproved" Bain's patent.

Rogers, J., New York, c. 1850, Relays Same as Henry?

Sargent, William D., 812 Race St., Philadelphia, (S) U.S.Telegraph & Supp. Co.

Schuyler & Smith, 1843, Registers 100 pounds plus.

Seiler, Paul. (Paul Seiler Electrical Works), 406 & 409 Market St. San Francisco, 1888-1916, General Line

Shain [See Knox & Schain]

Shaw Electric Co., (A) Philadelphia, c. 1880, Practice sets

Shawk [See Hicks & Shawk]

Shawk & Barton, 98 St. Clair St., 12 Cleveland, 1869, General line (S) Hicks & Shawk.

Shawk & Foote, 55 Center St., Cleveland, 1870

Smith, Charles T., Washington, c. 1844, Magnets For Morse.

Smith, FC., 1041 Penn Ave., Pittsburgh, 1886, "Herbert~' key

Smith, Gilbert [See Schuyler & Smith]

Speedwell Iron Works, Morristown, N.J., 1837-38, Port rules, registers, Wm. Baxter & Alfred Vail, principals.

Splitdorf, H. [See Clark & Splitdorf]

Springer, L.C., (A) 162 S., Water St., Chicago, c. 1865, General line

Standard Electric Works, Cleveland, 1883-84, "Stevens" keys

Standard Electrical Works, Cincinnati, 1880s, General Line

Standard Electric Co., (A) 502 Fourth Ave., Louisville, 1886, "Biggs" Keys

...Same... (A) 410 Third Ave., Same 1888

Stokell, New York, 1846, Magnets For Morse.

Telegraph Supply & Mfg. Co., 130-134 Champlain St., Cleveland, 1871-74, "Dirt Cheap" Instruments

...Same... Leader Bldg., Cleveland, 1874-84, (S) W.B. Cleveland.

Tillotson [See Bliss, Tillotson]

Tillotson & Co., 262 Broadway, New York, 1862-65, General line; Cumming Keeling a partner.

Tillotson, L.G. & Co., 8 Dey St., New York, 1865, Periphery Contact, E.S. Greeley a partner.

...Same... 26 Dey St., New York, 1865-67, key, and"Victor"

...Same... 11 Dey St., New York, 1868-72, Instruments.

...Same... 8 Dey St., New York, 1872-80, Same, Bought Gamewell in 1879.

...Same... 5 & 7 Dey St., New York, 1880-85, Same. (S) E.S. Greeley & Co.

U.S. Telegraph & Supply Co., (A) Philadelphia, c. 1870

Unger [See Edison & Unger]

Union Electric Co., New York, c. 1875, Keys

Utica Fire Alarm Telegraph Co., 106-108 Liberty St.m Utica, N.Y.m 1879-88m General linem "Earthquake" practice set.

Vail, Alfred [See Speedwell Iron Works]

Viaduct Mfg. Co.m Relay Station, B&0 RRm Baltimorem 1884m General line

...Same... 4 S. Howard St.m Baltimorem 1894- Same

Ware, H., Cincinnati, c. 1865, Keys

Watts [See Davis & Watts]

Watts & Co., 47 Holliday St., Baltimore, 1872-78, (S) Davis & Watts.

Welch & Anders, 30 Hanover St., Boston, 1876, Printers, (S) Jerome Redding?

Wessman, Gustav, 11 Spruce St., New York, c. 1853-

Western Electric Mfg Co., 220 Kinzie St., Chicago, 1872-, General line (13)

Williams [See Hinds & Williams]

Williams, Charles Jr., 109 Court St., Boston, 1856-72, General line (S) Western Electric.

Woodman [See Farmer & Woodman]

Zook, Samuel K. [See Barnes, Edmund F]

Industry Leaders to circa 1890

This is only speculation based on the frequency with which instruments seem to appear in collections, extent of advertising, etc., but the dominant makers in approximate order were:

Bunnell; Western Electric & Tillotson/Greeley, tied; Partrick & Carter; Phelps; Williams; Redding; New Haven Clock Co; Clark, Chester & Chubbuck, tied; Watts, Buell, DuBois, Lyman and Pope not far behind.

In the 1890s Manhattan Electrical Supply Co. was a very large supplier, but Bunnell and Greeley (the "Ludwig" mechanical set) actually may have provided many if not all of their instruments. Some Manhattan catalogs show illustrations of instruments labeled "Bunnell."

Other Notables in Instrument Development

There were many inventors/engineers who contributed substantially to instrument development, such as Milliken, Stearns, Curtiss, Toye and others.

They are not listed individually because they apparently did not make instruments other than for patent purposes.

Why Sounders Replaced Registers

"By 1849, operating by sound was becoming prevalent... The reception by register, the constant winding, the mistakes made by copyist caused by imperfect hearing, the whirr of the wheels, the breaking of the weight cord and the howl caused by damaged toes, the delay, the labor of all this was palpable and sought deliverance... It soon became, for all large offices, universal" - James D. Reid, The Telegraph in America, pp.l 90-191 . 


1 With Zook; a "copy" of Morse's patent?

2 "Copy" of Morse's patent

3 Acquired 19?? by INSO Electronic Prods. (Dr. Joe Jacobs, prop.) Inventory liquidated 1989-

4 The Caton shop, James Gamble, Sup't. (see Calif. Elec. Wks.) was owned by the Illinois & Mississippi Telegraph Co.

5 Stephen Chester joined his brothers in 1867, but left in 1868 to join Partrick in Chester, Partrick & Co.

6 See 5

7 Edison also used Bradley's shop.

8 Farmer invented duplex, developed Boston Fire Alarm system with Channing.

9 This building subsequently became AT&T headquarters.

10 Gold & Stock quotation services used instruments made by Phelps, Edison, Pope and Grey.

11 Before 1869 this was a Western Union shop, making instruments marked accordingly.

12 See 10

13 "Manufacturing" dropped from title c. 1884.