Double-needle telegraph instrument

A needle telegraph is a device that uses indicating needles moved electromagnetically to indicate to the operator which letter of the alphabet was being received – imagine a magnetic Ouija board. Instead of a battery, the instrument was powered by magnets and electro-magnetic currents, using pedal keys or levers. The telegraph pulses were generated by coils moving through a magnetic field as the operator worked the handles of the machine to send messages.

The technology was not widely used in Australia, but examples were in operation Adelaide-Semaphore line in South Australia in the 1850s until Samuel Morse’s armature system became the standard.

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