Early Telegraph Photos

Great pictures of telegraph instruments can sometimes be found that were created using the earliest photographic processes.
Daguerreotypes are the earliest photographs in which the image is exposed on a silver-plated copper plate. The images have amazing detail. They were around from around 1840 until the mid 1860’s. They were expensive to produce however, so having a Daguerreotype portrait made was generally reserved for the wealthy.

In the mid 1850’s, another form of photograph called the Ambrotype was invented. It differed from the Daguerreotype in that the image was exposed on a glass plate rather than copper. They were also around until around until the mid 1860’s.

The next popular type of photograph was the Tintype, developed in the 1850’s, which exposed the image on a sheet of silvered iron. The exposed image was then coated with enamel or lacquer. They were more durable and cheaper to produce than the Ambrotype. The popularity of the Tintype peaked in the 1860's and '70's but continued to be used into the 20th Century.

Finally there was the Cabinet Card, which became the most popular type of photograph in the latter part of the 19th century. These were printed on paper using an Albumen process and then mounted on a heavy card stock. Cabinet Card prints also show great detail and were typically larger than the other types of photographs, which increased their popularity.

Below are some cool telegraph pictures, starting with Daguerreotypes & Ambrotypes, followed by Tintypes & Cabinet Cards. I have also included some more modern photographs of telegraph images from the 20th Century.

Click on each thumbnail to view the full size image:


Daguerreotype of a Woman with a Burritt Register Daguerreotype of a Man with a Clark Harp Register Daguerreotype of a Man with an early Davis Register Daguerreotype of a Man with another Burritt Register
Half-Plate Tintype Ambrotype-Williams Register Ambrotype-Knox & Shain Register Ambrotype-Norton Register
Early Chubbuck Register Ambrotype Ambrotype of Man With Early Telegraph Relay Tillotson Relay & Sounder Tintype Tintype-Multiple Instruments
Tintype 1 Canadian Telegraph Instruments Chubbuck Telegraph Instruments Man With Williams Register
Man with Phelps Football Register and Knox & Shain Relay Group of Men with Register Telegrapher Group 2 Men with Keys
Young Girl With Tillotson Telegraph Set Woman Telegrapher Woman Telegrapher With Early Telegraph Instruments Man & Woman With Relays
Key & Sounder Young Man With Tillotson Telegraph Instruments Robert Henning Instruments Man With Chester Telegraph Instruments
Man With Chester Sounder Chester Sounder / Knox & Shain Relay Telegraphen Metz, Germany 2 Men With KOB
Chester Key & Register Knox & Shain KOB Charles Williams Practice Set Man With Box Relay and Pocket Set
Kicking Back Box Relay Tillotson Private Line Set Man With Early Telegraph Instruments
Man With Unknown Telegraph Set Buell KOB Tintype of 2 Men WIth Unknown Instruments Operator With Unknown Telegraph Instruments
Telegraph Operator in Nebraska With Lewis Key Tintype of 2 Men With Western Electric Key & Sounder Tintype of 2 Men With a Western Electric Private Line Set Pair of Lewis Box Relays
British Double Plate Sounders Box Relay Man Smoking a Pipe While Using a Box Relay Operator With a Western Electric Lewis Key
Operator With a Pair of Box Relays A Telegrapher Being Robbed (Actually a Double Image of the Same Person) Man With Partrick & Carter Key Man With Bunnell 1875 Patent KOB
Steiner Key Lewis Key & New Haven Clock Co. Sounder Man with KOB Set Another KOB Set
New Haven Clock Co. Combo Key & Sounder Tintype Bunnell KOB Bunnell Key & Sounder Tintype-Possibly a Bunnell KOB
Bunnell KOB 2 Bunnell KOB 3 2 Women Telegraphers Young Telegrapher & Teacher
Men on Train Tracks With Box Relay Russian Telegraph Office Man & Woman on Porch, Ca. 1910 A Re-Creation of the Previous Picture by Photo Enthusiast Larry Roettger. Larry Used His Grandkids to Pose for the Picture. Very Cool !!
"Big Sounder" on Float in St. Patrick's Day Parade. University of Missouri, 1913 Telegraph Office 1 Telegraph Office 2 Telegraph Office 3
Hungarian Telegraph Operator: "Miss Suzie" Swedish Telegraph Operator Bulgarian Telegraph Office With House Printing Telegraphs Bulgarian Telegraph Operator
Bulgarian Telegraph Office Thomas Edison With Bunnell KOB President Herbert Hoover With the Taft Key Walter Winchell at the Mic, and the Telegraph
Japanese Telegraph Operator on WW2 Bomber Female RCAF Telegraph Operator With a "Toronto" Bug President Eisenhower Practices Morse Code President Kennedy With the Taft Key Before Opening the Seattle World's Fair
Arthur Quinn Presents the Taft Key to Alaska Senator Bartlett Arthur Quinn Observes the Taft Key and a Mini Telegraph Set in Operation Chinese Girl Learning Morse Code in the 1960's North Korean Girls Learning Morse Code




Questions or comments?

You can reach me at telegraphdude@comcast.net