King's College London
Online Exhibitions
Professor Sir Charles Wheatstone

Five needle telegraph

Five-needle telegraph, patented 1837Five-needle telegraph, patented 1837The five needle telegraph devised by Wheatstone was a diamond shaped open dial consisting of an alphabetical system with five needles, controlled by five separate wires.

The needles pointed to the required letter, meaning it could be worked by anyone who could read and write.

However, the five needle design only supported 20 letters, omitting the following; C, J, Q, U and X.

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