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Optische Telegrafenstation Oeynhausen

Optische Telegrafenstation Oeynhausen

Station No. 32 – Oeynhausen – Berlin – Coblenz Royal Prussian optical telegraph line

The Oeynhausen telegraph station is station no. 32 along the Berlin – Coblenz optical telegraph line that connected Berlin with the Prussian Rhein regions for communication purposes between 1833 and 1849. 
The telegraph line with a length of around 600 km led from Berlin via Magdeburg past Braunschweig to Höxter, Paderborn, Rüthen, Iserlohn, Cologne and from there via Siegburg to Coblenz.
Existing high buildings such as castle towers and churches were used in addition to the newly constructed station houses.

A characteristic feature of a telegraph station was a high mast with three twin arms that could be recognised from afar. 4,096 characters could be displayed in purely arithmetical terms with aid of these so-called indicators. Numbers, letters, syllables, words and complete sentences were communicated such as "why isn't the line working" or "nothing new!"

With "excellent" air, 1.5 to 2 characters per minute were communicated to the next station situated between 7.5 and 15 km away and usually perched on a hill; operation however had to be interrupted in fog or rain. A dispatch of 30 words reached Coblenz from Berlin in 1.5 hours. This was a master performance in terms of communication if it is considered how long a messenger on horseback needed for this distance. 

Operation of optical telegraphy was terminated after just 16 years because electromagnetic telegraphy had been invented. The telegraph houses were either sold or torn down.  

Station No. 32 Oeynhausen was sold in 1850 at the Nieheim town hall for demolition purposes. In 1978, members of the Oeynhausen homeland association excavated and laid bare the foundation walls of the station. Reconstruction of the station was then commenced with financial support from the Westphalian Department for the Preservation of Historical Monuments in Münster – this was completed in 1984.

The now rebuilt “Telegraphen-Etablissement” Nr. 32 shows the room of the Prussian telegraphers incl. indicator device and historical uniforms, reconstructed in cooperation with LWL-Preußenmuseum Minden. 
In the lower tower room an exhibition on optical telegraphy and the history of Prussia in Westphalia is located (currently in revision)

How to get here


Heimatverein Oeynhausen e.V.

Klara Heinemann

Emmerkämpe 16, 33039 Nieheim


How to get here

From Bad Driburg on the L 954 towards Nieheim, from Merlsheim via the L 755, take the exit junction to Bilster Berg Drive Resort, before the gate turn left via the track to the telegraph station
Coming from the B 252 in Nieheim take the the L 755 towards Bad Driburg, take the exit junction to the Bilster Berg Drive Resort 
Navigation system: Bad Driburg, Bilster Berg
Parking spaces are available directly in front of the telegraph station


Public transport

Travel with local public transportation is not possible.


Visit website

Opening hours

each last Sunday from April to September from 2 - 6 pm, 
on the Tag des offenen Denkmals [Day of the Open Memorial] from 11 am - 6 pm and by arrangement


Free entry

Eat and Drink

Coffee and cake, beverages


Observation Room

(1) Observation Room

Observation Room

(2) Observation Room

Picture Credits

(1) Klara Heinemann / (2) Klara Heinemann