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Telegraph artifacts (from L to R): telegraph rate book; Morse code telegraph key; telegraph book; study manual for rules and codes (updated every two years).

The telegraph was developed in 1844 when Professor Samuel F.B. Morse discovered that electromagnets could be used to transfer a code over a wire between two places. The telegraph encodes each letter of the alphabet in the dots and dashes of Morse code, created by the systematic depression of the telegraph keys. The CPR Telegraphs began in 1885 and soon spread to the Atlantic Provinces. By the 1930's, CN and CP had established themselves as the principal providers of telegraph services in Canada.

The telegraph operators for Kensington were based out of the station, which had the call letter 'K.' There were two relays for communication: one for the commercial messages, and the other for the railway messages. Money could be wired by telegraph, according to long-distance rates stipulated in the manuals. When sending messages, the public could choose from several different rate packages: under 10 words, at 2 cents a word, or a 50 word day-letter at a flat rate. The operator who transcribed the messages coming over the wire was paid by commission, so it was in his own best interests to become as fast as possible. One operator, Irvin Jay, could type 50 words a minute without any touch-typing method! (Railway Heritage Association, photo by Tom MacDonald)