The dry cells used for electric bells are the most convenient batteries to use. They can now be purchased at all prices from a shilling upwards, and give about 1-1/2 volts when in good condition. One cell at each end will suffice for short distances, or for considerable distances if large conductors are used. If a single cell fails to work the buzzer strongly through the circuit, another cell must be added.
For ease in transport it will be found advisable to mount key, buzzer, and battery on a common baseboard, which should be provided with a cover and handle. The three parts are interconnected with one another, and the line wire terminals as sketched in Fig. 34. This arrangement makes the apparatus very compact and self-contained. As a finishing touch fit the lid inside with clips for holding a stiff-backed writing pad and pencil for the recording of messages.
Fencing made of stout galvanized iron wires strung on wooden posts supplies excellent conductors for practice purposes, provided the posts be quite dry. In wet weather there will be leakage. (Fencing with metal posts is, of course, unsuitable, as every post short-circuits the current.) The two wires selected for land lines must be scraped quite bright at the points where the connections are to be made.
It is an easy matter to rig up a telegraph line of galvanized wire 1/12 to 1/8 inch in diameter, strung along insulators (the necks of bottles serve the purpose excellently) supported on trees, posts, or rough poles. The length of the line will be limited by the battery power available, but a 6-volt battery at each end will probably suffice for all experimental purposes. A second wire is not needed if one terminal at each end is connected with a copper plate sunk in the ground, or with a metal fence, drain-pipe, etc.
Fig. 36. Standard for sounder.