How it works

The international Morse code alphabet and numbers.

Samuel Morse developed Morse code at the same time he developed the electromagnetic telegraph. Morse code was a simple coding system that worked hand-in-hand with the telegraph. These systems provided a fast and efficient way to send messages almost instantly across vast distances which effectively bypassed the limitations of space and time.

Communication using the telegraph worked by tapping out electronic Morse code signals for each letter of the alphabet using short (dots) and long (dashes) pulses. These electronic pulses were sent along a telegraph wire to a receiving instrument on the other end, where a telegraph operator would decode the message. 

“The Improved Vibroplex” telegraph key manufactured by the ATOZ ELEC Novelty Co. 

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Designed by Langara Design Formation students Asuka Moriwaki, Asya Hemsworth, Manu Leite, Victor Camerino in collaboration with the VMM curatorial team

Images from top:
International Morse Code. Digital file, accessed January 26th, 2021. <>
VMM item number M975.26.1a.