How to Make a Telegraph

telegraph receiver isolated on white image by Robert Young from

Things You'll Need

  • 2 pieces of cardboard 20cmx10cm
  • 2 pieces of cardboard 3cmx8cm
  • 3 pieces of wire 19cm long
  • 3 long pieces of wire
  • 1 D cell battery
  • 4 thumbtacks
  • One 2.37-volt light
  • Buzzer
  • Wire strippers
  • Pliers
  • Tape

The telegraph was once an important communication tool; it was used to send messages from person to person. You can relive those days by making a telegraph of your own. You can use your personal telegraph to communicate with your friends or family or just have it for display.

Use the wire strippers to remove 1.5 centimeters of the plastic insulation wrapped around each wire. Place a piece of tape on each long wire, to distinguish from one another. Label one wire A, one B, and one C.

Bend the smaller pieces of cardboard, two centimeters from the other end. Tape the smaller pieces of the cardboard to the larger pieces of cardboard (one small piece for one large piece). Tape the D cell battery to the center of one of the large pieces of cardboard.

Tape two of the shorter wires to the flat side of the battery. Make sure the metal of the wires are touching the metal part of the battery. Push a tack in the cardboard, right under the smaller piece of cardboard. Hook the free end of one of the shorter pieces of wire, around the tack. Use pliers to bend the sharp part of the tack, so the wire and cardboard doesn’t slip.

Tape the buzzer to the other side, next to the battery. You can purchase a buzzer at your nearest hardware store. Twist the free end of the other wire onto the black wire, located on the buzzer. Make sure the metal parts of both wires are touching.

Push a tack on the underside of the small piece of cardboard. This tack will go directly onto the smaller piece of cardboard. At the end, you will be able to use this tack to touch the tack that was previously applied onto the larger piece of cardboard. Hook wire A around the tack. Use pliers to bend the sharp end, so it doesn’t slip.

Tape one end of wire B to the positive end of the battery. Both metal parts must be touching. Twist one end of wire C to the red wire on the buzzer.

Push a tack through the other large piece of cardboard, under the smaller piece of board. Place the other end of wire B and the end of the remaining short wire around the tack.

Tape the light to the other side of the large piece of cardboard. Attach the other end of the short wire to the light. Also, attach the other end of wire A to other side of the light.

Push a tack on the underside of the smaller piece of cardboard. Wrap the free end of wire C to the tack. Your telegraph should be in working condition.