Communicator of an alphabetical telegraph system of the Breguet alphabetical type. The other component of the system is the receiver.

This communicator is a component of one of the first electric telegraph systems which could be used easily by non-skilled operators. It did not require the operator to learn morse or any other code.

The communicator has a horizontal circular dial with the letters of the alphabet displayed around its periphery. An arm pivoted in the centre of the dial can be moved so that its outer end passes over the letters. Starting from a rest position the arm is rotated by the operator and stopped when it points at the letter to be transmitted. This movement transmits electrical pulses along the telegraph wires to the receiver, with the number of pulses corresponding to the letter being transmitted. The pulses cause a needle to move around the vertical receiver dial to stop opposite the received letter. Before the next letter is transmitted both the communicator arm and the receiver needle must be returned to their initial positions.

This receiver was probably originally sold in London. It is possible that the receiver and the communicator were part of a telegraph demonstration kit.

Physical Description

Wooden baseboard. Horizontal circular dial with outer ring of numbers and inner ring of letters displayed around its periphery. Dial surrounded by brass ring with a notch opposite each letter. Arm pivoted in the centre of the dial moves round notched ring and can be positioned at each notch. Pivot at the centre of the dial carries a toothed wheel beneath wooden baseboard. As wheel turns each tooth makes contact in turn with a brass strip, completing the circuit between the two brass screw terminals mounted above the baseboard.

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