Telegraph Key: A 3D exploration of electrical transmissions

Telegraph Key: A 3D exploration of electrical transmissions

With downloadable 3D files and activity sheets, students explore an early form of electrical communication, electrical circuits and how codes can be used to transmit information. Emphasis is placed on creating a working telegraph key and seeing how it can be used to transmit Morse code.

The 3D printing file for the telegraph key can be downloaded individually. Worksheets and 3D print files for the module can be reproduced as necessary for your classroom. You can also download the entire Guide as a single file.


3D Printing File

Download and print your very own telegraph key! This .stl file can be reproduced as needed for your classroom, and can be constructed by following the instructions in the guide below.


Activity 1: Build your own telegraph key

In this activity you and your students will build a telegraph key and learn about how it uses some basic principles of circuits to send a message.


Want help in assembling your working telegraph key? Here's a short video that will help.

The electric telegraph carried messages across Canada in the 19th and 20th centuries. It was one of the first forms of instantaneous long distance communication and thus, brought the country together in a way never experienced before. The telegraph key was an important component of the telegraph as it was the device sending out messages.

Ingenium is scanning objects from the national collection and sharing models and printable files of artifacts.

Download and print the telegraph key parts then use this instructional video to create a fully-functional telegraph key – and bring a part of the museum to you.

Activity 2: What is Morse code?

Your students will learn about how the telegraph key can transmit information using code, such as Morse Code. They'll then have a chance to complete a series of coding challenges.



The artifacts collected, preserved, and displayed by Ingenium showcase Canada's rich history of innovation in science and technology. Each artifact tells a story of innovation and illustrates how science and technology have contributed to the transformation of Canada. Learn more about this artifact with this "ArtiFactsheet".