Cooke and Wheatstone two-needle telegraph, 1844.

Image number: 10213622

Cooke and Wheatstone two-needle telegraph, 1844.

The two-needle telegraph was a descendant of the five-needle telegraph invented in 1837 by William Fothergill Cooke (1806-1879) and Charles Wheatstone (1802-1875). Unlike its direct-reading predecessor, the two-needle telegraph needed a skilled operator, but gave faster signalling with lower installation costs. It was first used on the Great Western Railway's extension from West Drayton (on the outskirts of London) to Slough in Berkshire in 1843. In 1845, this instrument received a message that led to the arrest of a notorious murderer and gave the telegraph widespread publicity. By 1845, several other railway companies had begun installing their own telegraph systems.

Image number:
Science Museum/Science & Society Picture Library
Date taken:
12 January 2004 13:04
Image rights:
Science Museum

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