An Instructograph

While I was rummaging around through the club’s storage room yesterday, I came across an old Instructograph machine. I’m not sure how old this particular unit iss, but it looks like it has definitely seen better days.

Instructograph label
Instructograph label
Instructograph
Instructograph
Instructograph
Instructograph

It’s a paper tape based Morse code trainer with the Morse code encoded as holes in the paper tape. Along with the Instructograph were nine tins containing other tapes. Seven of them were rusted closed so I didn’t try to force them open. A couple were left open, including the one already on the Instructograph.

Instructograph tape tins
Instructograph tape tins
Instructograph tin
Instructograph tin
Open instructograph tin
Open instructograph tin

The Instructograph is essentially just an automatic straight keyer with an audio oscillator. As the paper tape moves between the contacts, the key is closed where the dots and dashes are punched out of the paper and generates the tone. The tapes are double-sided, so when you finish playing one, you just flip it over, thread it back onto the machine and play the other side.

Instructograph contact switch
Instructograph contact switch

I think the tape speed would have been controlled using this lever on the panel.

Instructograph speed control
Instructograph speed control

No idea if the Instructograph still works or what kind of condition the innards are in. The paper tapes are in somewhat delicate condition and I’m not sure if they’d hold up to much playing anymore if the Instructograph did work.

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