Antique William McWhirter Telegraph Relay No. 155


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Antique William McWhirter Telegraph Relay No. 155

This particular Antique William McWhirter Telegraph Relay No. 155 is a work of great design and engineering, and is in excellent condition. It was restored in 2015 by N. Groom. I have been unable to track down this particular model but it dates to the late 1800s and was possibly used in Railway signalling.

Even if you aren’t a collector of early telegraph or communications equipment, you can’t failed to be impressed by the brass and wood design. It would look wonderful as a paperweight or a desk ornament. An interesting Gizmo or Gadget to talk about in the office or seen gracing the shelves of a museum.

Approximate Measurements:

  • Base Diameter: 13cm
  • Height: 14.5cm

The relay is in good vintage condition. There are three small brass screws missing where the top attaches to the main body of the relay. The glass top is also nibbled at the edges but this defect is not apparent when on display.

What is it?

In telegraphic communication, sound is transmitted as current via cables. Voltages and current are kept low in the cables for safety’s sake. If the cables are very long, the power has to be amplified in order to operate effectively (receive a signal) at the local telegraph station. On reaching the local station, the high resistance relay connects with the main cable. This results in an electrical contact within the relay, which is then passed in the local circuit to a battery and ‘sounder’, which produces the familiar Morse code ‘dots’ and ‘dashes.’

William McWhirter: Inventor of the Multimeter.

William McWhirter (1851–1933) was a Scottish electrical engineer, based in Glasgow. He invented the combined voltmeter and ammeter or multimeter. He also happens to be the grandfather of Ross and Norris McWhirter CBE (the twins whom were famous for ‘Record Breakers’ and the ‘Guinness Book of Records’).



Additional information

Weight 2.5 kg


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