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Build a Telegraph
What you will need: Morse Code
  • Battery (size D)
  • Telephone wire (2 feet) Pencil
  • Utility knife
  • Sheet of cardboard (4 feet by 8 feet)
  • Three paper clips
  • Flashlight bulb (nonscrew bayonet type)
  • Masking tape
  • Large brad

What to do:

  1. Strip four inches of insulation from each wire end.
  2. Spread a paper clip apart. Wrap one wire end around the small inner part of the paper clip.
  3. Tape the wire on the paper clip with a small piece of masking tape.
  4. Wrap the other wire end around another flat paper clip. Tape that paper clip to the bottom (flat) end of the battery.
  5. Divide the cardboard sheet into thirds by making dotted lines at the intervals shown. Mark a cross in the middle of the narrowest piece.
  6. Fold in the cardboard along the two dotted lines.
  7. Cut the cross with the utility knife. Stick a pencil down into the cut to make a hole for the bulb.
  8. Poke the bulb up through the cardboard.
  9. Tape the battery to the cardboard as shown.
  10. Hook the opened paper clip around the bulb base.
  11. At the sides, tape the cardboard to the bulb is held against the battery. This completes the circuit, and the bulb should light up and stay lit.
  12. To make the switch, cut the wire in the middle and strip four inches of insulation from each new end.
  13. Spread the third paper clip apart about half an inch. Wrap one wire end around the small inner part of the paper clip. Tape the small end down on the cardboard.
  14. Bend the brad as shown, and wrap the other wire end around it. Tape the brad down so the head is beneath the paper clip.

To Use:
  • Use the Morse Code Chart to send a message. Hold the paper clip down, and count to 2 to make a dash (long signal). Touch the clip briefly to make a dot (short signal)
  • Make a copy of the Morse code for a friend. Send messages to each other, and record
    the sequence of dots and dashes. Use the chart to decode the messages


East Buchanan
Telephone Cooperative
P.O. Box 100
214 Third Street North
Winthrop, IA 50682-0100

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