The telegraph key or sending key was an important part of the telegraph system. When the telegrapher pressed the key an electrical impulse was sent through wires to the next station. The system used a mixture of short impulses called dots and long impulses called dashes. Each letter of the alphabet was assigned its own combination of dots and dashes called Morse Code. For example, the letter A is a dot and a dash (A · —). The short and long sounds were then heard by the next operator on their sounder. The receiving telegrapher had to listen carefully and write down the message they heard.
Take a look inside the telegraph room in Winsor Castle and learn more about the history of the Deseret Telegraph Company at Pipe Spring.
The pioneers used the telegraph system to send and receive messages. This was an important communication tool for people living so far away from others.