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Posted By: Walt Mathers on: 06/04/2003 01:44:58 EDT
Subject: Representative USMT or CS Telegraph Recv'r

Message Detail:

Step Right Up!

This 150 ohm relay is currently up for bid at e-bay for $15.00. The Telegraph Relay is listed as Item # 2177579645. It has four more days to go so the price may rise to about 30 or 40 dollars. Still this would be a good price.

John Emmett O'Brien the youngest USMT Opr said that he saw nothing but relays used (except for occasional small Caton pocket keys) while serving in the field during the War. The one above resembles a shortened version of a Clark instrument except for the rounded tubular striking stop atop the instrument. Most period pieces had square right-angled solid brass stoppers as seen on a Confederate used relay on the full page spread of 210-211 in "Fighting Men of the Civil War" by Wm. C. Davis, Gallery Books, NY, 1989. The piece shown above has two sets of contacts, i.e. nice high binding posts. Shown on page 211 of the Davis book is a nice lineman's vest or pocket key somewhat similar to the beautiful repros made by SCARD's Michigan State Representative and master craftsman Dave Harbin. The two pieces shown in Davis' book reside at the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, Virginia.

If you look on page 41 of George B. Prescott's work, "History, Theory and Practice of the Electric Telegraph" Boston, 1860 (reprint of 1866 edition available from Artifax Books) you will see the similarities with the one pictured above. See the Prescott book review at our SCA/SCARD main pages.

The well known war-time photographic image showing a USMT telegraph operator and his pard sitting beneath a make-shift canvas and fence rail support fly has a Clark or Farmer & Co. relay sitting next to him on top of a wooden box.

Happy Bidding,

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