Telegraph Office

The Western Union Company maintained a corporate museum of telegraph artifacts and ephemera until 1960. When it was closed, about half (mostly paper) was donated to the Smithsonian and half was sold to Stu Davis on New Jersey. Davis operated the National Telegraph Museum in his basement until his health declined. He sold the collection to Sherman Wolf of Boston. After Wolf’s death, his family donated most of the collection to AWA.

This display represents a typical 1920’s telegraph office. In addition to reporting train traffic and train orders, commercial messages were also sent and received at the office. Messengers would deliver the telegrams and pick up outgoing messages.

Although people general call all code transmissions Morse Code, the code used land line telegraphy and railroads is American Morse Code while International Morse Code is used by amateur radio and commercial radio operators worldwide. They are two different codes.