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10 Antique Toys That Still Look Like Fun

        Entertainment | Toys

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Morse Code Learner's Set
Actor Jackie Coogan looks a little scared to be using a telegraph machine in a scene from a 1924 movie. John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images
Actor Jackie Coogan looks a little scared to be using a telegraph machine in a scene from a 1924 movie. John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images

Texting-obsessed teens and tweens might be interested to try their hand at Morse code. After all, parents have caught on to texting shorthand, but how many of them are fluent in dots and dashes?

The telegraph was invented by Samuel Morse in the 1830s, and from as early as the 1920s, telegraph learning sets were sold as toys for both children and adults who wanted to learn the technology [source: The People History].

Some toy Morse code sets were made by telegraph companies like Western Union, while others were produced by general toy manufacturers including Lionel Corporation, Hasbro and Sears Roebuck and Co. While the earliest versions promised kids the chance to learn a new communication technology, later toys reflected signs of their respective times: Morse code toys produced during the 1940s were geared toward sending signals in war time, while sets from the '50s and '60s featured images of astronauts communicating with alien beings on other planets [sources: The People History, Hunter]. Today, you can learn Morse code via an online game – same fun, different device.