Telegraph Registers

With their large size and ornate machining, registers are probably the most impressive of the telegraph instruments. This gallery presents a timeline of telegraph registers from the earliest weight-driven registers to the more modern spring wound registers.

The first 3 pictures are probably the most famous registers. First we have the Vail Register which was used in the famous 1844 demonstration of the telegraph between the White House in Washington DC and Alfred Vail's home in Baltimore Maryland. Next, we have the 2 registers patented by Samuel Morse: The 1846 register (patent #4453) which looks quite similar to the Vail Register, and the 1849 register (patent #6420) which is a more compact, modern looking design. President Obama has the 1849 patent model on display in the Oval Office.

Below are some pictures of Telegraph Registers from the U.S., Europe, and Japan. Click on each thumbnail to view the full size image:

Original Alfred Vail Register from the 1844 Demonstration Samuel Morse 1846 Patent Model (Smithsonian Museum) Possibly J. Burritt, Ithaca NY, Ca. 1846 J. Burritt, Ithaca NY, Ca. 1848 (Smithsonian Museum)
A Pair of Early Daniel Davis Registers. Ca. 1848 Daniel Davis Demo Register, Boston. Ca. 1848 Palmer & Hall Demo Register (Successors to Daniel Davis), Boston. Ca. 1849 Samuel Morse 1849 Patent Model
Early William Clark Harp Register. Philadelphia William Clark Harp Register, Philadelphia. Ca. Late 1840's Henry J. Rodgers, NY. Ca. 1850 Very Early Chubbuck Register. Utica, NY. Ca. 1850's
James Clark Harp Register Ca. 1850's ( Hinds & Williams, Boston. Ca. Early 1850's JW Norton, NY. Ca. Early 1850's Unknown Early Register. Ca. 1850's
Thomas Hall, Boston. Ca. 1860 Caton Instrument Shops, Ottawa Illinois. Ca. 1860 GM Phelps, NY. "Football" Register. Ca. Early 1860's GM Phelps, NY. Ca. 1860's
AS Chubbuck, Utica NY. Ca. 1860's Charles Chester, NY Charles Williams, Boston (Edison Museum, Ft. Myers FL) Charles Williams, Boston. Ca. 1860's
Thomas Hall, Boston Charles T & JN Chester, NY. Ca. 1860's Early Austrian Weight-Driven Register. Ca. 1860 JS Keeling, NY. Ca. 1865
James Clark, Philadelphia. Ca. Mid 1860's German Weight-Driven Register. Siemens. Ca. 1860 LG Tillotson, NY. Ca. 1860's Early German Weight-Driven Register. Ca. 1860's
Fleming-Potter, Philadelphia. Ca. 1870 ( Knox & Shain, Philadelphia. Ca. 1870 Electrical Construction Co, San Francisco. Ca. 1872 Charles T Chester, NY. Ca. 1870's
Hochhausen, NY. Ca. 1875 GM Phelps Spring Wound Register. Ca. 1875 Lewert-Berlin. 1881 JH Eckling, Austria. Ca. 1880
Frederick-Pearce, NY. Ca. 1880 Oki Japanese Boxed Register & Key. 1890 French Register-Breguet. Ca. 1900 Swedish Regiser-LM Ericsson. Ca. 1900
Danish Register-Evald Andersen. Ca. 1900 Swiss Register. Hasler & Escher. 1909 Austrian Register. Ca. Early 1900's Italian Register. Ca. Early 1900's
Small German Register. Ca. Early 1900's Small German Demonstration Register Miniature Italian Key & Register Set. Just 4.5" Wide Oki Japanese Register. 1939



Questions or comments?

You can reach me at