The code was entered on a keyboard which had just five piano type keys, operated with two fingers of the left hand and three fingers of the right hand. Once the keys had been pressed they were locked down until mechanical contacts in a distributor unit passed over the sector connected to that particular keyboard, when the keyboard was unlocked ready for the next character to be entered, with an audible click (known as the "cadence signal") to warn the operator. Operators had to maintain a steady rhythm, and the usual speed of operation was 30 words per minute. Baudot's code became known as International Telegraph Alphabet No. 1, and is no longer used.
The Murray code also introduced what later became known as "format effectors" or "control characters" - the CR (Carriage Return) and LF (Line Feed) codes. A few of Baudot's codes moved to the positions where they have stayed ever since: the NULL or BLANK and the DEL code. NULL/BLANK was used as an idle code for when no messages were being sent.
The Murray system employed a keyboard perforator, which allowed an operator to punch a paper tape, and a tape transmitter for sending the message from the punched tape. At the receiving end of the line, a printing mechanism would print on a paper tape, and/or a reperforator could be used to make a perforated copy of the message. Early British Creed machines used the Murray system.
ITA2 is still used in TDDs and some amateur radio applications, such as radioteletype ("RTTY"). Though it is significantly different from Baudot's original code, it is nonetheless often incorrectly referred to as "Baudot code". Baudot's original code was adapted to be sent from a manual keyboard and no teleprinter equipment was ever constructed that used it in its original form.
In ITA2, characters are expressed using five bits. ITA2 uses two code sub-sets, the "letter shift" (LTRS), and the "figure shift" (FIGS). The FIGS character (11011) signals that the following code is to be interpreted as being in the FIGS set, until this is reset by the LTRS (11111) character. "ENQuiry" will trigger the other machine's answerback. It means "Who are you?"
CR is carriage return, LF is line feed, BEL is the bell character which rang a small bell (often used to alert operators to an incoming message), SP is space, and NUL is the null character (blank tape).
Note: the binary conversions of the codepoints are often shown in reverse order, depending on (presumably) from which side you are viewing the papertape. Note further that the "control" characters were chosen so that they were either symmetric or in useful pairs so that inserting a tape "upside down" did not result in problems for the equipment and the resulting printout could be deciphered. Thus FIGS (11011), LTRS (11111) and space (00100) are invariant, while CR (01000) and LF (00010), generally used as a pair, result in the same output when the tape is reversed. LTRS could also be used to overpunch characters to be deleted on a paper tape (much like DEL in 7-bit ASCII).
The sequence RYRYRY... is often used in test messages, and at the start of every transmission. Since R is 01010 and Y is 10101, the sequence exercises much of a teleprinter's mechanical components at maximum stress. Also, at one time, fine-tuning of the receiver was done using two coloured lights (one for each tone). 'RYRYRY...' produced 0101010101..., which made the lights glow with equal brightness when the tuning was correct.
US implementations of Baudot code may differ in the addition of a few characters, such as #, & on the FIGS layer. The above table represents the US TTY code.
The Russian version of Baudot code (MTK-2) used three shift modes; the Cyrillic letter mode was activated by the character (00000). Because of the larger number of characters in the Cyrillic alphabet, the characters !, &, £, and BEL were omitted and replaced by Cyrillics.