Electromechanical Assemblies and the High-Tech Revolution

Electromechanical assemblies date back to the 19th Century, and these devices work on simple principles. However, modern technology evolved from these simple things. Let’s take a closer look at electromagnetic technology, to see how it changed the world.

How Does Electromagnetic Energy Work?

In started in 1820 when Oersted discovered that an electrical field could move a compass needle. Faraday took things further with the discovery of electromagnetic induction. By using a coil of wire, electricity, and iron, one could create controlled movement from a distance. For example, early wired telegraphs were electromechanical assemblies that worked like this:

A telegraph key has a coil of wire connected to a contact. The key has the other contact. When the sender pressed a telegraph key, both contacts touched, and it sent an electric signal to another telegraph key that responded just like sender key. In other words, if the sender sent three short pauses followed by three long pauses, and then three more short pauses, the receiver got an “SOS” signal in Morse code.


Telegraph keys were early electrical relays. They worked on a principle of electromagnetic energy opening and closing contacts connected to a circuit. The relay can either open or close a circuit depending on its structure. Some are normally open (NO) and some are normally closed (NC).


Relays are switches that turn power on and off. Computers work on a base two number system called a binary code. They can send or store data like this, “00001 00000 00100100”. A binary system is simply a series of “on” and “off” selections.

Analog data turns into digital data when it’s transferred to a binary code that computers can read. Every modern high-tech device has its roots in simple electromechanical assemblies. These devices are responsible for a technological revolution that’s still going on today.

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