Clark's block signalling telegraph instrument, 1854

Made:
1854 in England
maker:
Edwin Clark
and
Electric Telegraph Company

Creative Commons LicenseThis image is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 Licence

Buy this image as a print 

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

Creative Commons LicenseThis image is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 Licence

Buy this image as a print 

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

Creative Commons LicenseThis image is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 Licence

Buy this image as a print 

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

Creative Commons LicenseThis image is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 Licence

Buy this image as a print 

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

Creative Commons LicenseThis image is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 Licence

Buy this image as a print 

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Clark's block signalling telegraph instrument, invented by Edwin Clark, probably made by W T Henley's Telegraph Works Company for the Electric Telegraph Company, London, England, 1854. This type of instrument was used of the London and North Western Railway Line between London and Rugby from 1855

Clark's block signalling telegraph instrument, invented by Edwin Clark, probably made by W T Henley's Telegraph Works Company for the Electric Telegraph Company, London, England, 1854. This type of instrument was used of the London and North Western Railway Line between London and Rugby from 1855.

Edwin Clark was an engineer with the Electric Telegraph Company, which had been formed in order to make commercial use of Cooke and Wheatstone's telegraph patents. The Electric Telegraph Company was employed to provide telegraph equipment for railway signalling, including on the London and North Western Railway. Clark's aim when he invented this instrument was to design a telegraph that could be used for train signalling with the smallest chance of mistakes. The instrument ran on a continuous circuit, and showed either 'train on' or 'train off', meaning that either there was a train on the line or that it was clear. In the case of emergencies, the telegraph wire could be cut at the trackside, which would mean that the instrument received no signal, and therefore warned of danger. Clark's instruments were used between London and Rugby from 1855, and were placed every two-and-a-half miles. A parliamentary committee in February 1858 heard about the success of this instrument from the London and North Western Railway Director, who described the event that had occurred one evening when he was travelling: a bridge collapsed, and a nearby policeman was able to cut the wires and thus indicate to the instrument operators that there was a problem, meaning that two trains were halted before they encountered the remains of the bridge.

On display

Science Museum: Information Age Gallery: Cable

If you are visiting to see this object, please contact us in advance to make sure that it will be on display.

Details

Category:
Signalling & Telecommunications
Object Number:
1912-5
Materials:
brass (copper, zinc alloy), glass, metal (unknown), paint, wood (unidentified)
type:
block instrument
credit:
Donated by H.M. Postmaster General
status:
Permanent collection

Cite this page

Rights

We encourage the use and reuse of our collection data.


Data in the title, made, maker and details fields are released under Creative Commons Zero


Descriptions and all other text content are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence

Using our data

Download

Download catalogue entry as json

Our records are constantly being enhanced and improved, but please note that we cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information shown on this website.