Joseph Henry Demonstrates His First Telegraphic Apparatus, a Bell-Ringer




Date: 1831-1832


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For his students at Albany Academy, Joseph Henry uses a battery and electromagnet to transmit a current through a 1,060-foot wire, causing a bar magnet suspended on a pivot to strike a bell.


  • Henry, Joseph 1797-1878
  • Albany Academy


Chronology of Smithsonian History


  • Image is sketch of the "telegraph" Henry demonstrated to his students at the Albany Academy, Smithsonian Institution Archives, negative number SIA2012-7651.
  • Moyer, Albert. Joseph Henry: The Rise of an American Scientist. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1997, pp. 68-71.

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20024-2520,




  • Electric apparatus and appliances
  • Magnetic induction
  • Telegraph
  • Scientific apparatus and instruments
  • Electrochemistry
  • Electromagnets
  • Electric power supplies to apparatus
  • Educators
  • Experiments
  • Magnetic Telegraph
  • Teaching
  • Electromagnetic telegraph
  • Teachers
  • Electric batteries


Albany (N.Y.)

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