1/12 scale working replica

Here is my latest interactive exhibit for the Spark Museum. This is a 1/12 scale working model of a Chappe Telegraph, standing about 3 feet tall. These were installed throughout Europe in the late 18th & early 19th century and were used by Napoleon in his conquests. They used no electricity, instead, large semaphore arms were manipulated with brass cables to form messages. A message could be sent from Paris to Milan in as little as six hours.

The entire tower structure, window/door frames, & gears were all cut on the Glowforge. The mechanism is operated with servo motors controlled by an Arduino.

Here are a couple of videos of the telegraph:

Telegraph video overview

Chappe Telegraph model operating


It reminds me of the mechanical semaphores used on the British rail network. No idea if they are related, but rail is a major public transport system in the UK.


Very nice! I want to visit the Spark Museum now that you have introduced me to it.


What fun! I was just listening to a podcast that mentioned these yesterday and had a hard time visualising what they were talking about. Thanks for the elucidation :slight_smile:


Very cool.


This is fantastic! I read the Terry Pratchett books books that talk about towers like these, but could never picture what he meant. It is so cool that you made a working model!


Pretty neat. Reminds me of the towers the Romans built along Hadrian’s Wall. They stationed signalers every mike to pass messages between forts in the wall.


Wowwww. Not only a really cool piece of history but an amazing model! This is wonderful.


This would be super awesome even if it wasn’t interactive, it’s a brilliant piece.

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Well I have to admit I have never heard of these. So I thank you for the introduction and education. and the working model is just great.


Very nice! Supercool!

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Interesting. Learn something new every day

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Wow, that is a lovely piece! And thanks for the mini history lessen, I had never heard of them before.

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I totally agree!

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