EARLY PRE - 1881 TELEGRAPH EQUIPMENT
W1TP TELEGRAPH AND SCIENTIFIC INSTRUMENT MUSEUMS: http://w1tp.com

(I am always looking for equipment or photographs for the museum.)

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VERY EARLY LAND-LINE TELEGRAPH EQUIPMENT (prior to 1881) - - (50 - 1000)

After Morse's successful 1844 demonstration of sending the MORSE code with a key called the "Correspondent" made by Vail to a "register" that made ink marks on paper tape, numerous manufacturers began producing apparatus to take advantage of this new technology. By the 1860's Civil War, several kinds of keys, registers, and sounders were in use. They were usually made of brass.

(The instruments are in approximate chronological order: Oldest first.)
* = (Items no longer owned.) ** = (Items in other collections.)

50 THE ORIGINAL MORSE TELEGRAPH KEY was actually a notched piece of metal called a Portrule. It was pulled along and the parts of the metal that were not notched made contact with another piece of metal, completed the electrical circuit, and produced the dots and dashes of the Morse Code.

50a THE VAIL 'CORRESPONDENT':(41KB) This simple so- called 'strap key' was used in early tests by Morse and Vail that led up to the 1844 demonstration. It was given the name 'strap key' because it consisted of just a simple strap of spring brass.

50b THE ORIGINAL MORSE TELEGRAPH KEY CALLED THE 'LEVER CORRESPONDENT' THAT WAS USED IN THE 1844 BALTIMORE-WASHINGTON DEMONSTRATION:(36KB) This key is on display in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC and it is on loan from the Vail Museum in Morristown, NJ.

50x A REPRODUCTION OF THE VAIL LEVER CORRESPONDENT MADE BY KENT IN ENGLAND:(38KB) This key has the same design and measurements as the original key but it has been given a sand-blasted finish which makes it look quite different from the polished brass of the original.
50y A LEFT side view of the Lever Correspondent Reproduction by Kent:(42KB)

50z ** THE EARLIEST CAMELBACK KEY THAT I HAVE EVER SEEN:(50KB) Owner anonymous.

51 ** EXTREMELY EARLY PALMER AND HALL BOXED COMBINATION TELEGRAPH KEY AND RELAY SET: This extremley rare Palmer and Hall telegraph set is contained in a wooden box that protects the early camelback key and relay from damage. One end of the box folds down to allow operation of the set while still in the box. The relay and the box are labeled: Palmer and Hall and the box label reads: PALMER & HALL electricians, 158 Washington St. Boston, Mass. The box measures: 8.5 x 6 inches. The owner was kind enough to allow me to include these photographs in my museum prior to selling it on ebay.
51a ** The Palmer & Hall Telegraph Set in its Original wooden box.
51b ** A different view of the Palmer & Hall Telegraph Set showing the telegraph key more clearly.
51c ** The operator's end of the Palmer & Hall Telegraph Set.
51d ** The Maker's Mark on top of the relay in the Palmer & Hall Telegraph Set.
51e ** A close view of the far end of the key and a terminal in the Palmer & Hall Telegraph Set.
51f ** The underside of the base of the Palmer & Hall Telegraph Set.
51g ** The front of the box of the Palmer & Hall Telegraph Set.
51h ** The inside of the cover of the box of the Palmer & Hall Telegraph Set showing the Palmer and Hall paper label.
51i ** A close view of the dovetailed corner of the box of the Palmer & Hall Telegraph Set.

52 ** EXTREMELY EARLY TELEGRAPH AND MINSTREL AMBROTYPE: (57KB)This extremely early ambrotype is from the Jim Bollman (email: jim@themusicemporium.com ) collection of very early banjos. It is copyright (c) Jim Bollman and it is provided courtesy of The Music Emporium ( http://www.themusicemporium.com ).
Ambrotypes were introduced after dagerreotypes and around the middle of the 19th century. They consist of a transparency which is mounted on a black background. This one shows a grouping of 8 young boys with a banjo and two telegraph instruments. The grouping and banjo indicate that these boys are members of one of the popular minstrel groups of the mid 19th century. Three of the boys are wearing hats and at least two are wearing uniforms which suggest that they work in a telegraph office. They are holding two extremely early telegraph instruments and I believe that this is the earliest photograph of these instruments that has been found.
The left instrument appears to be a Thomas Hall relay similar to the number 68 ** Palmer & Hall relay shown in my museum:(16KB)
The right instrument appears to be a similar Hall relay mounted on the same board with a very curved telegraph key which may be an Hall or some other key. If it is an Hall key, it is much earlier and more elaborate than the number 67 Hall telegraph key in my museum:(15KB)
Click here to see an enlarged (but very slow loading) view of this entire picture:(191KB)
I have selected the right instrument and enlarged it to allow much closer inspection. This is an enlarged view with no sharpening:(17KB) It reveals that the key has a light-colored probably ivory knob.
Adding a very high degree of sharpening allows a few more details to be seen:(26KB)
Still more enlargement:(8KB) starts to show more additional details of the key's design. However, you will probably have to step quite far back away from your computer screen to view it.
CONCLUSION: I believe that the key is a Palmer and Hall camelback as shown in This picture from the Hall Catalog:(12KB). Although it is difficult to see all of the details in the ambrotype because the head of a minstrel gets in the way, most details seem to match the catalog illustration.
52f ** HOMEMADE MODEL OF THE PALMER & HALL CAMELBACK:(10KB)This key is in the Tom French W1IMQ collection. It appears to have been modeled after the above key.
52fa ** Another view of the homemade camelback:(11KB)
52fb ** Another view of the homemade camelback:(11KB)
52fc ** Another view of the homemade camelback:(10KB)
52fd ** Another view of the homemade camelback:(10KB)
52fe ** Another view of the homemade camelback:(10KB)
52fg ** Another view of the homemade camelback:(11KB)
52fh ** Another view of the homemade camelback:(14KB)

53 VERY EARLY PALMER AND HALL OR HALL BOXED PORTABLE COMBINATION TELEGRAPH KEY AND RELAY SET: This extremely rare portable telegraph set is enclosed in a strong wooden box that protects the tiny miniature straight lever key and miniature relay from damage. The overall design and the spring adjusting mechanism for the relay is quite unusual. Although there are no obvious markings on the set, the knurling on the hardware, the shape of the parts, and the design strongly suggest that it was made by Palmer and Hall or Hall in Boston, Mass.
53a Another view of the Palmer and Hall portable set:
53b Another view of the Palmer and Hall portable set:
53c Another view of the Palmer and Hall portable set:
53d A closer view of the mechanism of the Palmer and Hall portable set:
53e A closer view of the mechanism of the Palmer and Hall portable set:
53f A closer view of the key in the Palmer and Hall portable set:
53g A closer view of the key in the Palmer and Hall portable set:
53h The front outside of the box of the Palmer and Hall portable set:
53i The right outside of the box of the Palmer and Hall portable set:
53j The left outside of the box of the Palmer and Hall portable set:
53k The bottom of the box of the Palmer and Hall portable set:

54 ** POSSIBLY THE EARLIEST TELEGRAPH DAGUERREOTYPES: These daguerreotypes are exhibited with the permission of Mark Koenigsberg whose daguerreotype museum at: http://www.geocities.com/~daguerreotype contains many other early pictures on other subjects. They are copyright (c) Mark Koenigsberg and are the earliest images of telegraphers and telegraph instruments that I have found.

55 EXTREMELY EARLY CATON 'MORSE' WEIGHT-DRIVEN REGISTER:(54KB) This extremely early Morse Register is a fine example of the first style of paper-tape recorder to be used on the telegraph lines. It is powered by a weight and pulls a paper tape past a stylus that makes indentations in the tape for dots and dashes. It was used in a railroad depot in Stockton Springs, Maine. It was acquired by James Coose (W1CBU) of Stockton Springs when the station closed and given to his son-in-law Robert Littlefield (W1MFU) and transferred to this museum by Diane Coose Littlefield in 1996. It was made by the Caton Instrument Co. in the 1850's. The base is stamped: OTTAWA - ILL 433.
55b ANOTHER VIEW OF THE CATON 'MORSE' REGISTER:(54KB)
55c ANOTHER VIEW OF THE CATON 'MORSE' REGISTER:(54KB)

56 CATON TELEGRAPH KEY:(12KB) This early straight lever key was made by the Caton Instrument Co., Ottawa, Ill. The long legs pass through holes in the operating table and wires are attached to binding posts at the end of each leg. The lever is stamped CATON, OTTAWA, ILL 7?? (illegible), and the base is stamped with the number 494. Circa 1860's.

57 ** EARLY CATON 'LINEMAN'S TEST SET OR POCKET RELAY:(18KB)This magnificent pocket relay or 'lineman's test set' consists of a sensitive sounder and a very early and tiny strap key. There is a tiny ivory knob on both the key and the shorting lever. These sets allowed linemen to tap into telegraph lines with a pocket-sized instrument and they were also used by the military for intercepting and sending false messages to the enemy. The set is enclosed in an oval hard rubber case and in a thick leather protective case. These pocket sets are very hard to find and this one is owned by collector Bill Carpenter, AA8EY.
57a High Resolution picture of the Caton Pocket Relay:(48KB)

60 VERY EARLY ELABORATE CAMELBACK KEY & SOUNDER:(63KB) This all brass key with leaf spring has a massive elaborately curved lever of the earliest "camelback" or "humpbacked" shape which was adopted soon after Morse's demonstration. These keys were only made for a short time because the steel shaft, press fit into the lever, tended to work loose with use. The sounder is also heavy brass but, although it was mounted on a board along with this key, I believe that the sounder may be from a later period. The original wooden base is missing. The two instruments came from a burned railroad station in Canada. Circa 1848. The lever shape and large dished adjusting screw heads are very similar to the two keys shown below. It has been suggested that these keys were all made by the Dominion Telegraph Company in Canada but unfortunately, we have very little information about Canadian Telegraph Companies.

62 VERY EARLY ELABORATE CAMELBACK KEY:(32KB) This all brass key with early hairpin spring has the same massive elaborately curved lever as number 210. The hairpin spring suggests that it is of a slightly later design. It is stamped NWT, the initials of the early Northwest Telegraph Company of Western Canada. All underside parts are stamped "2" and it is also stamped 1880., an inventory date? It came from Canada. Circa 1850.

63 VERY EARLY ELABORATE STRAIGHT LEVER KEY:(32KB) This extremely early all brass straight lever key is very similar to the two extremely early camelback keys above. Note that the shorting lever and adjusting screws are virtually identical to those above. Like the two camelbacks, it was also located in Canada and it may have been made by the Dominion Telegraph Company. Circa 1850's. Collector Pete Malvasi, W2PM owns a sounder which appears to match this key and which is labeled Dominion Tel Co. and this lends credence to the suggestion that Dominion made this key although the key below is very similar to this key and carries the label: FOSTER, Toronto suggesting that this key might have been made by Foster.
63a Another view of the early straight lever key:(16KB)
63b A closer view of the early straight lever key:(16KB)
63c A still-closer view of the early straight lever key:(32KB)

64 VERY EARLY ELABORATE CANADIAN 'FOSTER' STRAIGHT LEVER KEY {One Mystery Solved!}:(32KB) This extremely early all brass straight lever key is very similar to the key above (Number 0063). Note that the shorting lever and adjusting screws are virtually identical to those above. This key is labeled: FOSTER, TORONTO and it appears to be a very early key made in the 1850s. Several keys have turned up in the last 10 years that are similar to this key but none of them has carried a maker's name. It is apparent that this key solves the mystery of who made these other keys by showing that it was "FOSTER" of Canada who made them.
64a Another view of the very early Foster straight lever key:(16KB)
64b A view of the underside of the base of the very early Foster straight lever key:(16KB)

65 * 1850 TELEGRAM AND TAPE FROM A ''HOUSE PRINTING TELEGRAPH'':(14KB) This telegraph message was printed on the paper tape by a 'House Printing Telegraph' instrument in 1850. The 'House' was first patented in 1848. The tape was delivered to the addressee in the envelope which carries the date of receipt of the message.
65l Higher Resolution View of the telegram:(70KB)

66 VERY EARLY THOMAS HALL WEIGHT DRIVEN REGISTER: (24KB) This lovely old register was made by Thomas Hall of boston in the early 1850's.
66a Another view of the Hall Register:(28KB)
66b Another view of the Hall Register:(26KB)
66c Another view of the Hall Register:(28KB)
66d Another view of the Hall Register:(26KB)
66e Another view of the Hall Register:(27KB)
66f Another view of the Hall Register:(25KB)
66g Another view of the Hall Register:(23KB)

67 VERY EARLY THOMAS HALL CAMELBACK KEY:(15KB)
This lovely camelback key was made by Thomas Hall of Boston circa the 1850's.
67a The other side of the Hall camelback:(15KB)

68 * VERY EARLY PALMER & HALL RELAY:(20KB)
This lovely early relay was made by the firm of Palmer & Hall of Boston sometime between 1847 and 1849. Notice the ivory end caps on each of the coils and the ivory insulator on the very end of the contact spacing screw.(Traded to W2PM)
68a * Closeup of the Name on top of the frame:(11KB)

69 VERY EARLY THOMAS HALL SOUNDER:(26KB)
This lovely early sounder was made by the firm of Thomas Hall of Boston sometime between 1847 and 1859.
69a Another view of the Thomas Hall Sounder:(28KB)
69b Another view of the Thomas Hall Sounder:(30KB)

70 VERY EARLY CHARLES CHESTER WEIGHT-DRIVEN MORSE REGISTER:(18KB) This very early register was made by Charles T. Chester of New York in the 1850's. It is an embossing register which means that it marked dots and dashes by making impressions in the paper tape rather than by depositing ink on the tape. A pair of them was originally purchased and one was traded.
70a The Pair of Chester Registers:(17KB)
70b The Pair of Chester Registers-(other side):(20KB)

71 VERY EARLY CHARLES CHESTER TELEGRAPH KEY:(12KB) This lovely straight lever key was manufactured by Charles T. Chester of New York in the 1850's or 1860's. The lever is 5" long and the base is 3".

72 VERY EARLY MINIATURE CHARLES CHESTER TELEGRAPH KEY:(11KB) This is a smaller version of number 71. The lever is 4" long and the base is 2" long.

74 * VERY EARLY TILLOTSON WEIGHT-DRIVEN REGISTER:(45KB) This lovely and very early register was made by Tillotson & Co of New York in the 1850's. It's design appears to be identical to the Knox & Shain Registers made in Philadelphia. It is an embossing register which records dots and dashes on the paper tape by making indentations in the tape with a pointed stylus. This picture is displayed with the permission of the owner/collector.

75 * VERY EARLY CHUBBUCK WEIGHT-DRIVEN REGISTER:(24KB) This very early register was made by Chubbuck in Utica, NY in the 1850's. It is an embossing register which records dots and dashes on the paper tape by making indentations in the tape with a pointed stylus. (traded to K5VT)
75a ANOTHER VIEW OF THE CHUBBUCK REGISTER:(25KB)

76 VERY EARLY CHUBBUCK WEIGHT-DRIVEN REGISTER:(29KB) Very similar to number 75 above.
76a ANOTHER VIEW OF THE CHUBBUCK REGISTER:(31KB)
76b ANOTHER VIEW OF THE CHUBBUCK REGISTER:(35KB)
76c ANOTHER VIEW OF THE CHUBBUCK REGISTER:(30KB)
76d ANOTHER VIEW OF THE CHUBBUCK REGISTER:(30KB)

79 EARLY WESTERN UNION WEIGHT-DRIVEN REGISTER:(22KB) This is an early Western Union Weight-Driven Register. The solid brass sides of the string reel are very unusual. It is an embossing register which marks dots and dashes on the paper tape by making indentations in the tape with a pointed stylus.
79a ANOTHER VIEW OF THE WESTERN UNION REGISTER:(22KB)
79b TOP VIEW OF THE WESTERN UNION REGISTER:(21KB)
The register was apparently carried from location to location in this box.
79c WESTERN UNION REGISTER BOX OPEN:(23KB)
79d WESTERN UNION REGISTER BOX CLOSED:(20KB)
The box has the Western Union Label on the front:
79e WESTERN UNION REGISTER BOX LABEL:(20KB)


THE CIVIL WAR:


80 CIVIL WAR ERA PHELPS CAMELBACK KOB, Marked G.M.PHELPS-MAKER.:(27KB) These Phelps Camelback keys were the most widely used of the Civil War keys. Camelback keys have an upward lump like a camel's hump on the lever between the knob and the pivot. They were only made for about 12 years from 1853-1865 because the steel trunnion shaft which was press-fit into the lever would gradually work loose with prolonged use. The brass lever would then slide left and right making the key unusable.
This key is all brass except for the steel trunion shaft. The key has a shorting switch and the revolutionary Phelps-invented spring adjusting screw which was copied and used on just about every key manufactured after his invention. This particular Phelps key is mounted on wooden base with its legs shortened to fit into the base. (a common but unfortunate modification.) A very early and primitive Tillotson sounder is also mounted on the base making it into a portable Key (and sounder) On Base, commonly called a KOB.(1860's)

81 * CAMELBACK LEG KEY: G.M.PHELPS-MAKER.:(10KB) As above (no base).circa 1860's.(Traded to John Casale - W2NI.)
81a Another view of the Phelps key:(16KB)

CONSTRUCTION PLANS FOR A PHELPS CAMELBACK KEY:(LOW RESOLUTION): (35KB)
I have often been asked for drawings of the historic Phelps Camelback Keys by Civil War Reenactors and others who are interested in making replicas. I have traced a Phelps key onto 1/4-inch squares graph paper and added the dimensions as best my shaky hands would allow and I hope that there is enough information to allow people to build a key from these plans. I offer these plans in low, medium, and high levels of resolution. They are copyrighted but single copies may be made and printed for individual use by any interested person. I would really appreciate seeing pictures of your completed or in-progress keys!!
81cm CONSTRUCTION PLANS FOR A PHELPS CAMELBACK KEY: (MEDIUM RESOLUTION): (96KB)
81cl CONSTRUCTION PLANS FOR A PHELPS CAMELBACK KEY: (HIGH RESOLUTION): (403KB)

The following photographs show many views of a Phelps Key and may be useful to those who are trying to reproduce one:
82 PHELPS CAMELBACK KEY (Left Top View mounted on a base:(21KB)
82a PHELPS CAMELBACK KEY (Right Top View mounted on a base:(22KB)
82b PHELPS CAMELBACK KEY (Left Top View unmounted:(14KB)
82c PHELPS CAMELBACK KEY (Right Top View unmounted:(13KB)
82d PHELPS CAMELBACK KEY (Left Side View unmounted:(13KB)
82e PHELPS CAMELBACK KEY (Right Side View unmounted:(14KB)
82f PHELPS CAMELBACK KEY (Bottom View unmounted:(21KB)
82g PHELPS CAMELBACK KEY (Serial Number on top of base:(12KB)
82h PHELPS CAMELBACK KEY (W.U.TEL.CO Stamped on top of lever:(18KB)
82i PHELPS CAMELBACK KEY (G.M.PHELPS MAKER Stamped on left side of lever:(18KB)

83 VERY UNUSUAL AMERICAN TELEGRAPH CO. PHELPS CAMELBACK KEY (G.M.PHELPS MAKER Stamped on left side of lever) WITH SIDE MOUNTED SHORTING CONTACTS:(14KB)This Phelps Camelback key is stamped AM. TEL. CO. on top of the lever. It has an extremely unusual shorting switch with spring-loaded detent and side mounted contacts. It was found mounted on a wooden board with an early sounder of unusual design. The following photos show all of the unusual aspects of the key:
83a A view of the Right side of the key showing the unusually thick shorting lever:(17KB)
83b A view of the Left side of the key showing the G.M.PHELPS MAKER Stamped into the lever:(14KB)
83c A closeup view of the side-mounted shorting lever contacts in the open position showing the spring and roller detent:(31KB)
83d A closeup view of the side-mounted shorting lever contacts in the closed position showing the spring and roller detent:(34KB)
83e A closeup view of the bottom of the key showing the shorting lever mechanism in the open position:(33KB)
83f A closeup view of the bottom of the key showing the shorting lever mechanism in the closed position:(33KB)
83g A closeup view of top of the lever showing the AM. TEL. CO. stamp:(43KB)
83h A closeup view of left side of the lever showing the G.M.PHELPS MAKER stamp:(46KB)
83i Right side of board with key & sounder as found:(12KB)
83j Right side of board with key & sounder as found:(12KB)
83k Side view of sounder found with key:(30KB)

84b ** RARE PHELPS EGG-SHAPED WEIGHT-DRIVEN REGISTER:(32KB) This is probably the most impressive telegraph instrument that Phelps made. As Morse Code signals are fed into it's coils, it embosses marks on the moving paper tape with a pointed stylus.
84 ** Side view of the Phelps register:
84a ** Top view of the Phelps register:

85 ** PHELPS SOUNDER:(32KB) This lovely early 1860's Phelps sounder is in the Pete Malvasi - W2PM collection.

86 * PHELPS SOUNDER - RELAY:(26KB) This Phelps sounder was made as / or converted into a relay. The upright post is insulated from the base and forms one of the normally-open relay contacts while a hole in one trunnion support with a set screw for a piece of wire forms the other part of the circuit.(Traded to John Casale-W2NI)

87 * EARLY PHELPS/WESTERN UNION PLUG-STYLE TELEGRAPH SWITCHBOARD:(18KB) This switchboard allowed one telegraph set to be switched into one of two incoming telegraph lines. Tapered brass plugs completed the circuit. A lightning arrestor plate, separated from the conductors by a small gap, shunted lightning strikes to ground. The plate reads: W.U.TEL.CO., G.M.PHELPS.(Traded to John Casale - W2NI.)

90 ** CIVIL WAR TELEGRAPH OPERATOR'S TOMBSTONE WITH KEY AND TELEGRAPH POLE:(27KB) This tombstone was erected in honor of James Francis Leonard of Frankfort, KY. He was a telegraph operator during the Civil War and is credited with having discovered that the sounds made by a register as it impressed dot and dash marks on paper tape could be copied by ear. This led to the widespread use of sounders for copying the Morse code although many people still insisted on a permanent paper tape record of the messages because they did not trust copy-by-ear. In 2004, I was sent a photo of the base of the tombstone showing the name 'Taylor'. I do not know the significance of this name.
90a Closer view of the telegraph key and the telegraph line insulator at the top of the pole:(20KB)
90b Closer view of the front of the tombstone:(32KB)
90c Closer view of the inscription:(48KB) It reads: James Francis Loeonard. Born at Frankfort, KY., September 8th, 1934. Died at Columbus, Miss., July 29. 1862 aged 27 years, 10 Months and 21 Days. Called home by the Grand "Chief Operator" To Work the "Eternal Circuit" Above.
90d Closer view of the telegraph key which is probably a Hall Camelback:(32KB)
90e Closer view of the telegraph insulator:(14KB)
90f A different view of the tombstone showing the name Taylor on the side of the base.

92 ** Photograph of Civil War Field Telegraph Station:(39KB)This is one of the very few actual photographs of a civil war field telegraph setup. You can see the large coils of the relay quite clearly but the details of the key and other apparatus are quite hard to make out even in the enlargement below.
92a ** Enlarged view of the telegraph set in the Civil War Field Telegraph Station.:(55KB)

94 VISITING CARD PHOTOGRAPH OF A TELEGRAPH OPERATOR AND TELEGRAPH SETS: This photograph shows a telegraph operator and what appear to be two box relay telegraph sets with perhaps Lewis keys.

96 ** OIL PAINTING OF CIVIL WAR ERA INDIANS BURNING TELEGRAPH POLES:(37KB)This extraordinary oil painting depicts two indians setting fire to two telegraph poles. This was one of the reasons that it was difficult to maintain reliable telegraphic communications across the country at that period in American history. This painting is the property of collector Bob Fuschetto who was kind enough to allow me to put this photograph of it in my museum.

99 ** CIVIL WAR REENACTOR AND TELEGRAPH HISTORIAN ROBERT FEENEY AND HIS CIVIL WAR TELEGRAPH STATION: Robert Feeney has been displaying, demonstrating, and explaining Civil War Telegraph Instruments at various Civil War Reenactments. Many of his instruments are homemade and they all function perfectly. Notice the batteries, key & relay set, register, sounder, switch, pocket set and portable wire dispensing reel in his display. Here are a few more photographs of his station taken in 2006.
99f ** Telegraph register made by Robert Feeney for his Civil War Field Telegraph Station:
99h ** Telegraph Pocket Set made by Robert Feeney for his Civil War Field Telegraph Station:

99s ** CIVIL WAR "U.S. MILITARY TELEGRAPH" - TELEGRAM/MESSAGE FORM From Robert Feeney's display:(260KB) This is the message form that was used for transcribing and delivering Civil War Telegraph messages. It is provided courtesy of Robert Feeney. It may be downloaded and printed on your printer. The original size is: 4-3/4 inches wide by 7-3/16 inches high.

100 RARE MINIATURE W. HOCHHAUSEN CAMELBACK KEY:(15KB)This tiny camelback key measures only 3-1/4 inches long. It was manufactured in the 1870s by W. Hochhausen of New York.
100a Another view of the W. Hochhausen Camelback key:(14KB)
100b A close-up view of the name on the W. Hochhausen Camelback key:(18KB)

101 RARE MINIATURE W. HOCHHAUSEN CAMELBACK KEY and MINIATURE S. H. HOGGSON SOUNDER:(23KB)This is the same model of Hochhausen key shown above. It was found with a miniature sounder made by S. H. Hoggson of New Haven, Connecticut. Additional pictures are shown below:
101a Hochhausen Key and Hoggson Sounder with ruler for size reference:(23KB)
101b Left side view of the key:(25KB)
101c Right side view of the key:(20KB)
101d Closeup of name on key lever:(24KB)
101e Key in hand for size reference:(27KB)
101f Key with ruler for size reference:(31KB)
101g Hoggson sounder (top view):(17KB)
101h Hoggson sounder (side view):(23KB)
101i Hoggson sounder (bottom view):(19KB)
101j Hoggson sounder (maker's label):(35KB)

102 * RARE W. HOCHHAUSEN WEIGHT DRIVEN REGISTER:(25KB) This magnificent, unusual, and rare round-base Hochhausen register is owned by collector VE3STN who gave me permission to display it in my museum.
102a * Another view of the HOCHHAUSEN REGISTER:(31KB)

110 PARTRICK & CARTER LEG KEY:(16KB) Very early step-down cast lever. Black Japanned finish w/gold trim paint. Shorting switch.Spring adjuster.

111 * PARTRICK & CARTER LEG KEY:(16KB) Similar to # 110. Very early step-down cast lever. Black Japanned finish w/gold trim paint. Shorting switch. Spring adjuster.
111a Another view of the Partrick & Carter leg key:(19KB)
111b Another view of the Partrick & Carter leg key:(19KB)
111c Another view of the Partrick & Carter leg key:(16KB)

120 ** VERY EARLY SWEDISH SORENSEN WEIGHT-DRIVEN EMBOSSING REGISTER:(60KB) This is a very early Swedish weight-driven register made by Sorensen in Stockholm, Sweden. The shape of the frame is very similar to the very earliest of the German Siemens registers. The picture was provided by Collector Jan Skoldin, SM5LNE.
120a ** A closer view of the Sorensen Label:(16KB)

125 VERY EARLY AUSTRIAN EMBOSSING REGISTER:(25KB) This is a very early Austrian embossing register. Before dots and dashes were inscribed on the paper tape in ink, embossing registers such as this one used a blunt stylus to emboss impressions into the tape. These long and short impressions were read by eye and transcribed into letters. The register is signed: CZEIJA & NISSL, WIEN (Vienna, Austria) Number 769.

130 * EARLY FREDERICK, PEARCE MORSE REGISTER:(12KB) This lovely and unusual register was made by Frederick, Pearce & Co., of New York probably in the 1870's. The coils are enclosed within the large, elaborately decorated 9" x 12" iron base. It uses an ink roller mechanism to mark the paper tape and has a lever-arm winding mechanism.
Frederick, Pearce of 77 & 79 John Street in New York were successors to Pearce & Jones of 64-66 John St. who were established in 1872.
130a A closeup view of the ink-roller mechanism:(26KB)
130b A very closeup view of mechanism and label:(35KB)
130c A back view showing spring winding lever:(13KB)
130d Another back view showing spring winding lever:(13KB)
130e View of bottom of base showing the coils:(29KB)
130f Front of register with reproduction supply reel:(19KB)
130g Rear of register with reproduction supply reel:(20KB)

135 EARLY BRITISH STELJES PATENT TYPE-PRINTING TELEGRAPH REGISTER:(18KB) This is a very unusual early dual weight-driven type printing telegraph register. There are two large drums for the cord coming from the two weights which provide the power to operate the register. It is not clear how this device functioned but the two solenoid coils apparently selected the character to be printed on a paper tape by arotating print wheel.
135a A view of the Manufacturer's Label:(35KB)
135b A view showing the inner mechanism:(18KB)

140 WATTS CAMELBACK KEY:(30KB) This interesting camelback key was made by Watts & Co. of Baltimore, Maryland in the early 1870's. The lever is stamped WATTS & CO. BALTO MD. The Shorting switch is stamped PAT.AUG 27, 72, and consists of two strips of brass, lying over each other. Note that the base is absolutely identical to that of a Phelps camelback.
140a The other side view of the Watts Camelback:(31KB)
140b Top view of the Watts Camelback:(23KB)

145 WATTS MINIATURE CAMELBACK KEY:(15KB) This miniature camelback key was made by Watts & Co. of Baltimore, MD in the 1870's.

147 * VIADUCT KOB WITH MINIATURE CAMELBACK KEY:(21KB) This early KOB has a rather distinctive sounder and a miniature camelback key which is identical to the Watts Miniature Camelback Key seen as item 145.(The Derek Cohn WB0TUA Collection)
147a A Side view of the Viaduct KOB:(14KB)

148 * VIADUCT SPRING DRIVEN REGISTER: This register marked a moving paper tape with the dots and dashes of the Morse Code. It is labeled: VIADUCT, BOSTON.
148a * The other side of the Viaduct Register:
148b * End view of the Viaduct Register:
148c * The moving armiture of the Viaduct Register:
148d * The maker's stamp on the Viaduct Register:

150 EARLY TILLOTSON "ARCHED" CAMELBACK KEY: (40KB) This Tillotson camelback has an unusual oval hard rubber base. The brass arch over the trunnion from left to right was probably designed to stabilize the uprights so they did not work loose in the base. Label reads: L.G.Tillotson & Co. 8 Dey St., New York.

157 * VERY EARLY TILLOTSON CAMELBACK KEY: (25KB) This lovely early Tillotson camelback key has a base which is identical to that on the Number 56 Caton straight lever key .. suggesting that there was some connection between Caton and Tillotson. This great key is owned by Joe Schroeder, W9JUV.

159 MINIATURE TILLOTSON CAMELBACK KEY: (47KB) Tiny brass-lever camelback key with 3-3/4" lever stamped Tillotson, 6 Dey St.New York, no spring adjusting screw, a lock screw on the steel trunnion shaft, miniature knob, & brass base stamped 2048.
159a Another view of the Miniature Tillotson Cambelback key: (56KB)
159b Another view of the Miniature Tillotson Cambelback key: (47KB)
159c Another view of the Miniature Tillotson Cambelback key: (32KB)

160 EARLY OTTOMAN EMPIRE TURKISH TELEGRAPH KEY:(23KB)This early Turkish land-line telegraph key was found in an antique store in Istanbul in 2003. The letters stamped into the bottom of the base suggest that it was used during the Ottoman Empire.
160a Another View of the Ottoman Empire Turkish Key: (23KB)
160b A View of the Turkish Key showing the letters on the bottom of the base:(59KB)

161 * EARLY OTTOMAN EMPIRE TURKISH TELEGRAPH KEY:(29KB)This early Turkish land-line telegraph key was found but not purchased in an antique store in Istanbul in 2003. Its basic design is quite similar to the design of # 160 above.

169 EXTREMELY EARLY GERMAN LAND-LINE CAMELBACK KEY:(31KB) This is a very early German Camelback key although the next key in the museum, number 170, is clearly much earlier.
169a Another view of the Camelback Key:(34KB)

170 EXTREMELY EARLY GERMAN LAND-LINE CAMELBACK KEY:(14KB) This is one of the very earliest German Camelback keys that I have ever seen. I believe that it dates to the early 1850's based on my research in the Siemens and Deutches Museum Archives in Munich. I believe that the number stamped on the side of the key is either a part number or the date in which it was placed in service. I have included several different views of the key.
170a Another view of the Camelback Key:(15KB)
170b Another view of the Camelback Key:(14KB)
170c Another view of the Camelback Key:(18KB)
170d Another view of the Camelback Key:(27KB)

170aa ANOTHER EXTREMELY EARLY GERMAN LAND-LINE CAMELBACK KEY:(15KB) This is similar to the one above but perhaps slightly later.
170ab Another view of the extremely early German Camelback Key:(13KB)

171 * VERY EARLY GERMAN LAND-LINE CAMELBACK KEY:(15KB) Lovely very early German camelback land-line key with the flat, non- adjustable spring and the heavy brass camelback lever that was characteristic of the earliest German telegraph keys.

172 * EARLY GERMAN LAND-LINE CAMELBACK KEY:(19KB) Nice early German camelback land-line key with the flat, non- adjustable spring and the heavy brass camelback lever that was characteristic of early German telegraph keys.

173 * LATER MATCHED GERMAN LAND-LINE CAMELBACK KEYS:(19KB) These two keys were mounted side-by-side on a single piece of wood. The keys are numbered 1 and 2. The heavy camelback levers are similar to those of early camelback keys but these keys were made around the turn of the century.
173a A closer view of one of the German camelback keys:(14KB)

174 EARLY GERMAN LAND-LINE CAMELBACK KEY FROM CZECH REPUBLIC:(19KB) Nice early German camelback land-line key with the flat, non- adjustable spring and the heavy brass camelback lever that was characteristic of early German telegraph keys. This one was used in the Czech Republic.
174a Another view of the German/Czech Land line key:(22KB)

175 VERY EARLY GERMAN LAND-LINE FLAT SPRING PIVOT KEY:(18KB) Delicate key with flat spring/pivot (Like a Steiner key) at end of the 3-3/4" lever. Early Ivory knob and normally open and normally closed contacts. Books show this to be circa 1840s.

176 VERY EARLY GERMAN LAND-LINE SEMI-CAMELBACK FLAT SPRING KEY:(34KB)This is an early German land-line key with a very unusual lever design. It uses the very early flat spring design to hold the lever up.
176a Another view of the German key:(36KB)

177 EARLY GERMAN LAND-LINE CAMELBACK KEY: Nice early German camelback land-line key with the flat, non- adjustable spring and the heavy brass camelback lever that was characteristic of early German telegraph keys.
177a Another view of the German Land line camelback key:

180 * EARLY FRENCH KEY, REGISTER, AND BELL PRACTICE SET:(17KB) This is an early French practice set consisting of a small telegraph key, an electrically operated bell, and a register which scribed impressions of dots and dashes into a moving paper tape.
180a Another view of the French practice set:(16KB)

181 EARLY GERMAN BRASS LEVER CAMELBACK PRACTICE KEY:(18KB) Small 3-3/4" brass lever with camelback curve and upward pointing end leading directly into knob. An early flat spring provides the tension. This design is typical of most of the early Prussian land-line keys. These keys were used with early German telegraph practice sets as shown below which are the German equivalent of the American Bunnell Camelback key and sounder practice sets.

182 * EARLY GERMAN TELEGRAPH SET: KEY, REGISTER, RELAY:(13KB) This simple practice set is the German equivalent of the American Bunnell Camelback key and sounder practice sets. The simply-made key follows the classic lines of the earliest Prussian Camelback keys. The register is also of very simple design. The paper tape is simply pulled through the register by hand. The relay, although simply made, is patterned after the earliest Prussian relays.
182a * ANOTHER EARLY GERMAN PRACTICE REGISTER:(23KB)
This is another variant of the very simple, hand-operated design.
182b CATALOG ILLUSTRATION OF COMPLETE EARLY GERMAN PRACTICE SET:(22KB)
This illustration shows a box containing a complete German practice set consisting of 2 glass batteries, 2 keys, 2 registers, and 2 rolls of wire. The catalog was published in 1910/1911 by Edmund Prandstatter of Munich, Germany. It is interesting to note that registers were still being produced and sold at this late date in Germany while Americans had abandonned registers in favor of copying code by ear from sounders around the 1860's. It is also interesting to note that there are NO sounders offered for sale anywhere in the catalog !!
182c CATALOG ILLUSTRATION OF ANOTHER GERMAN PRACTICE SET:(15KB)
This practice set from the above catalog included a more complex spring-driven register which pulled the paper tape automatically.
182d * Another GERMAN PRACTICE REGISTER:(15KB)
182e * Another GERMAN PRACTICE REGISTER:(15KB)
182f * Another GERMAN PRACTICE REGISTER:(15KB)

183 VERY EARLY GERMAN CAST LEVER CAMELBACK KEY:(25KB) Massive 4-3/4" long cast lever with the classical Prussian camelback shape. An early flat spring provides the tension. Normally open contacts only.

185 UNUSUAL EARLY GERMAN CAMELBACK KEY:(15KB) Small 4-1/4"Camelback lever with unusual upward pointing end leading directly into knob. Key is pivoted on far end and has coil spring. Black 3-1/2x2-1/2 base stamped: E.ZIMMERMAN, LEIPZIG. This key was sold for use in scientific experiments as well as for telegraph.

0187 EARLY GERMAN 'SIEMENS' KEY, REGISTER, & GALVANOMETER (KROB) SET:(16KB) This set is a typical example of an early European land-line telegraph system consisting of a straight-lever German key, an ink writing register, and a galvanometer for measuring the condition of the line. A roll of paper tape on which the dots and dashes were written (in ink) is stored in the drawer under the register. This set was manufactured by Siemens.
0187a ANOTHER VIEW OF THE SIEMENS SET:(20KB)
0187b ANOTHER VIEW OF THE SIEMENS SET:(17KB)

0188 EARLY FRENCH KEY, REGISTER, & GALVANOMETER (KROB) SET:(21KB)
This set is a typical example of the early European land-line telegraph systems which consisted of a straight-lever German-design key, an ink writing register, and a galvanometer for measuring the condition of the line. It is called a ''KROB'' set which stands for: Key and Register on Base. A roll of paper tape on which the dots and dashes were written (in ink) is stored in the drawer under the register. This set is stamped with the French manufacturer's name but the design of the key and register are clearly Siemens. The name stamped on the set reads: Societe Industrielle des Telephones, 25 Rue du 4 Septembre, Paris. I believe that the set was probably originally manufactured or certaily licensed by Siemens.
NOTE the interesting telegraph key which has the characteristic German Siemens spring-mounted lower contacts AND surprisingly, it has two tension springs. One spring is mounted in front of the trunnion and one spring is mounted in back of the trunnion. It is unclear why the spring in back of the trunnion was needed.
The only other two-spring key that I have been able to find is listed in the Spark and Radio keys' and the 'German Military keys' sections of this museum. The following views of this set allow you to see all of the important details.
0188a Another angled view of the French set:(21KB)
0188b Another angled view of the French set:(22KB)
0188c A view of the French set with paper drawer open:(19KB)
0188d A close up view of the galvanometer on the French set:(8KB)
0188e A close up view of the name stamped into the French set:(12KB)
0188f A close up view of contacts and dual springs of the (German-origin) telegraph key on the French set:(14KB)

0188g A key that is similar to that has the same dual springs as those on the above set:(25KB)

0189 * EARLY GERMAN 'WETZER' KEY, REGISTER, & GALVANOMETER SET:(17KB)
This set is a typical example of a land-line telegraph system consisting of a straight-lever German key, an ink writing register, and a galvanometer for measuring the condition of the line. This one is somewhat later than number 0187 and the black meters were probably added later than it's first date of manufacture. It was manufactured by H. Wetzer, Pfronten Bayern.
0189a Another view of the wetzer set:(17KB)
0189b Another view of the wetzer set:(17KB)
0189c Another view of the wetzer set:(18KB)
0189d Another view of the wetzer set:(17KB)

190 LARGE WESTERN UNION TRANSATLANTIC CABLE KEY:(51KB) Two large old brass levers mounted on a 4-1/2x6" black rubber base. The left lever was used to send dots. Pressing it drove the cable voltage positive. The right lever was used to send dashes and drove the cable negative. Since the cable was thousands of miles long, it acted as a huge capacitor and the full plus-to-minus voltage was necessary to help it discharge. The messages were recorded on a moving paper strip and it took skill to visually tell the difference between dots & dashes.
0190a Another view of the WU Cable Key:(37KB)
0190b Another view of the WU Cable Key:(37KB)
0190c Another view of the WU Cable Key:(37KB)
0190d A view of the bottom of the base of the WU Cable Key:(37KB)

192 LARGE ELLIOTT BROTHERS TRANSATLANTIC CABLE KEY:(51KB)This is a very fine example of an early submarine cable key. It has survived in very good condition and shows a plethora of adjustments that allow it to be set to the exact tension and spacing desired by an operator. The left lever was used to send dots. Pressing it drove the cable voltage positive. The right lever was used to send dashes and drove the cable negative. Since the cable was thousands of miles long, it acted as a huge capacitor and the full plus-to-minus voltage was necessary to help it discharge. The cable messages were usually recorded on a moving paper strip and it took skill to visually tell the difference between dots & dashes. This key, however, was used with the super-sensitive relay shown below instead of the typical paper tape recorder.
192a Another view of the Elliott Brothers Cable key: (41KB)
192b Another view of the Elliott Brothers Cable key: (41KB)
192c Another view of the Elliott Brothers Cable key: (41KB)
192d Another view of the Elliott Brothers Cable key: (41KB)
192e Another view of the Elliott Brothers Cable key: (41KB)
192f A close view of the Victor-Patent-like pivots on the Elliott Brothers Cable key: (41KB)
192g A close view of the maker's name on the Elliott Brothers Cable key: (41KB)
192h The underside of the base of the Elliott Brothers Cable key: (41KB)

193 SUPER-SENSITIVE POLAR RELAY USED IN SUBMARINE TELEGRAPH CABLE LINES:(70KB)The electrical signals on a submarine telegraph cable were usually recorded on a moving paper tape and then translated into letters by eye. This relay has the extremely high resistance of 506 Ohms, making it sensitive enough to detect the very small voltage changes in a submarine cable. In addition, it has numerous very fine adjustments that allow it to be set to react to very weak signals such as thouse received over very long cables. There is some engraved writing on the top of the relay but I have been unable to read it because it is not engraved deeply enough into the metal. This relay was located along with the Elliott Brothers Submarine Telegraph Cable Key shown above and it seemed likely that it as also made by Elliott Brothers but Richard Rogers, VK7RO has an identical relay made by Siemens Bros. so they may have been the makers.
193a A close view of the contacts on the super-sensitive submarine telegraph cable relay:(50KB)
193b A close view of the sensitive magnets underneath the submarine telegraph cable relay:(50KB)
193c Another view of the submarine telegraph cable relay:(50KB)

200 UNUSUAL ELLIOTT BROTHERS "UNIGRAPH" POCKET KEY AND SOUNDER: (20KB) This tiny set is carried in a small leather case. It consists of a 2 inch diameter brass cylinder 1-1/2 inch high. A tiny key protrudes from the side.
200a The circular disk (24KB) on the top pivots forward to make a clicking sound when the
200b coils (22KB) are activated.
200c The top is engraved (30KB): The "Unigraph" Designed by T. A. Bullock and A. C. Brown Elliott Bros., London. No 125.

201 * UNUSUAL MINIATURE BRITISH STRAIGHT LEVER KEY: (13KB) This miniature key was probably made by Elliott Brothers.
201a Closer view of the miniature British straight key: (14KB)
201b Another closer view of the miniature British straight key: (12KB)

203 WESTERN ELECTRIC LINEMAN'S POCKET TEST SET:(27KB) Similar to #205 but tiny camelback-style key has lever stamped Western Electric Co. Chicago.
203a Another view of W.E. pocket set:(24KB)

205 TILLOTSON LINEMAN'S POCKET TEST SET:(50KB) These hard-to-find sets were used by early linesmen and Civil War telegraph operators and spies to carry to the top of telegraph poles & tap into the telegraph lines for testing, espionage, and sending/receiving messages. Consists of a lovely oval hard rubber case with engraved top 4-1/2" long by 2" wide. Inside is a tiny key with 1-1/2" lever and a sounder with sensitive horizontally mounted coils.
205a Another View of the Pocket Set:(53KB)
205b Key End View of the Pocket Set:(36KB)
205c Sounder End View of the Pocket Set:(38KB)
205d Pocket Set and Sharps 4-barrel pistol in Civil War espionage setting:(56)

206 BUNNELL LINEMAN'S POCKET TEST SET:(34KB) Tiny sounder integrated with tiny key on black base.

210 POSTAL TELEGRAPH COMPANY POCKET TEST SET:(13KB) This very small set was made by The Postal Telegraph Company and used by the military in the Spanish-American war and others.
210a Opening the cover reveals the key mechanism:(13KB) and the sounder armiture.
210b The removal of the entire front cover:(12KB) shows the coils for the sounder and the "Skirrow patented" rack-and-pinnion device that adjusts the coil-to-armiture distance.

212 COMPLETE PORTABLE WESTERN UNION TELEGRAPH OFFICE:(17KB) This is a complete portable 1870's Telegraph office. It is contained in a special box which serves as a desk and which can be attached to a telegraph pole. It was carried in a railroad car and used for emergency communications along the railroad line. This is a very interesting set so I have included many different views of it and it's components. Several views are very similar to each other but have slightly different color balance. As you can see, the set can be attached to any convenient telegraph pole using a chain attached to the back of the cabinet. It can be electrically hooked into any telegraph line using the special connector called a 'Wrecking Clamp'. A blueprint shows the wiring of many of the telegraph poles along the railroad line so the telegraph operator can know which line to tap into. The following views and descriptions should explain the operation of this unusual set...
Very similar portable telegraph offices were carried in Fire Chiefs' buggies in major city fire departments to allow communications during major fires. A pole-mounted tent was often used to protect the equipment and telegrapher from the elements in bad weather.
0212a A similar but slightly closer view of the set with an operator:(18KB)
0212b A view of the front of the set without the operator:(14KB)
0212c A similar view of the front of the set without the operator:(15KB)
0212d A view of the back of the set showing how it is chained to the telegraph pole:(23KB)
0212e A view of the front of the set with the cover/desk closed:(11KB)
0212f A view of the back of the set showing the wooden saddles and the chain for mounting the set to the telegraph pole: (11KB)
0212g A view of the front of the set with the cover/desk open:(11KB)
0212h A different view of the front of the set with the cover/desk open:(11KB)
0212i A closer view of the front of the set with the cover/desk open:(17KB)
0212j A still closer view of the front of the set with the cover/desk open:(19KB)
0212k A view of the blueprint showing the wiring of the different telegraph poles along the various sections of track: (10KB)
0212kl A MUCH higher resolution view of the blueprint: NOTE This is a BIG, SLOW-LOADING 135KB file! :(135KB)
0212l The sensitive Western Union Box Relay Key and Sounder with the magnificent Lewis key:(14KB)
0212m The lovely Lewis telegraph key:(15KB)
0212n The adjustments for the sensitive sounder part of the instrument:(14KB)
0212o The label on the telegraph set reads: ''PATENTED OCT. 12, 1871, W.U.TEL CO'' and number C540 is stamped into the wood:(16KB)
0212p The ''Wrecking Clamp''. This clamp was tightened over a telegraph wire and then the wire was cut. The terminals on the clamp allowed electrical connections to be made to each of the severed ends and the switch on the clamp allowed the two severed ends to be electrically reconnected:(12KB)

217 * VERY SMALL EARLY BRASS LEG KEY:(15KB) A tiny brass leg key with heavy lever and pressed-in steel trunnion.

218 VERY SMALL EARLY NICKEL-PLATED BRASS LEG KEY:(43KB) A tiny nickel-plated brass leg key with a heavy lever and a pressed-in steel trunnion.
218a Another view of the tiny key:(33KB)
218b Another view of the tiny key:(32KB)
218c A view of bottom of the tiny key:(30KB)

215 Another similar tiny key:(16KB)
215a Another view of the tiny key:(16KB)

220 GRAY & BARTON LEG KEY:(24KB) Lovely very early square brass lever bent down slightly toward knob and stamped "GRAY & BARTON, CHICAGO". Trunnion is nicely machined steel held in place by a setscrew. Very early design with no spring adjusting screw (a refinement invented by Phelps in the 1860s). Short brass shorting lever pivoted under trunnion. Cast brass base stamped "828". 2 tapered SMOOTH brass legs extend down 2" & end in brass-screw wire binding posts. ca. 1860s.

221 R. HENNING "MAKER" SOUNDER:(38KB) Very early all brass sounder used with 220 above. armiture stamped R.HENNING, MAKER on side & W.U.TEL.CO on top. Very early design.
221a * R. HENNING "MAKER" SOUNDER: As above. Traded to Roger Reinke.

222 Western Union / Grey & Barton Key:(24KB) Same as 220 with Nickel-plated lever, unstamped,base stamped"416". Spring adj screw. ca. 1860s.

223 * JAMES PARTRICK BRASS KEY AND SOUNDER:(24KB) Lovely and delicate all brass key similar in design to #110 with matching sounder >K9WDY

224 PARTRICK & CARTER "ARCH" KEY & SOUNDER:(47KB) This large set has an extremely unusual
224a Partrick & Carter step-lever key with a lovely brass arch over the trunnion:(55KB).
224b This view shows the front of the key:(22KB)

225 BRASS STEP-LEVER KEY & SOUNDER ON WOODEN BASE:(32KB) Masive brass lever key with steel shaft, japanned base, and early step-down lever design on wooden base with Black Japanned base sounder with gold lettering "PATENTED FERY 16,1875".
225a CLOSE-UP OF BRASS STEP-LEVER KEY:(16KB)

227 CLASSIC LEWIS PATENT KEY: (36KB) This is one of the more frequently seen versions of the Lewis Key which is the only key that was granted a patent exclusively based on the beautiful design of the key rather than any innovative electrical or mechanical attributes.
227a Another view of the LEWIS KEY: (36KB)

228 VERY UNUSUAL FLAT-LEVER LEWIS PATENT KEY: (33KB) This is one of the most unusual Lewis keys. It has a flat steel lever instead of a nickel-plated brass lever and the pivot points are at the far end of the lever.

229 MINIATURE LEWIS KEY BOX RELAY/SOUNDER: (38KB) This is an unusually small so-called box relay with a boxed sounder/relay and a lewis key on a wooden base. It is not clear why it was made in such a small size.
229a A closer view of the key: (37KB)
229b A closer view of the relay/sounder: (44KB)

230 LEWIS / WESTERN UNION TELEGRAPH SET:(25KB) This unusual set consists of a lovely brass LEWIS key mounted perpendicularly across a 12inch long wooden base which is mounted on a gold pin striped black cast iron base. To the left of the LEWIS key is an unusual sounder and to the right of the LEWIS key is a line relay of unusual design. The adjusting string/spring for the relay passes over the top of the LEWIS key from right to left to an adjusting knob. The relay is engraved W.U. TEL. CO. on the brass base and OHMS 153 on one brown coil cover. The key is engraved "LEWIS PAT May 25, 1875 May 23, 1876 on top of the lever and "W. E. MFG. CO. CHICAGO" on the side of the lever. Bottom of base signed in ink: J.F. Putnam, July 10/80.
230a Another View of the Lewis/WU Set:(47KB)

232 EXTREMELY UNUSUAL STRAIGHT LEVER FLAT TERMINAL LEWIS KEY:(16KB) This is the strangest Lewis Key that I have ever seen. The lever is nearly straight which is unusual for Lewis keys but the most unusual aspect of the key is the three flat-topped terminals which, as you can see from the underside view connect to the normally open, normally closed, and frame of the key. There is no way to connect wires to these terminals directly so I can only assume that the key was slid into some sort of spring loaded contact assembly. I have included several different views of the key.
232a Another view of the Flat Terminal Lewis Key:(15KB)
232b Another view of the Flat Terminal Lewis Key:(25KB)
232c A view of the bottom electrical connections of the Flat Terminal Lewis Key:(18KB)

233 ** EXTREMELY UNUSUAL LEWIS CAMELBACK KEY:(21KB) This is a very unusual Lewis patent key with a camelback lever. Most Lewis keys have a gently sloping lever which paved the way for virtually all subsequent key designs. This key is owned by collector: Gray Marshall KQ6MW..
233a * ANOTHER VIEW OF THE CAMELBACK LEWIS KEY:(21KB)

234 LEWIS KEY: (15KB) This is one of the more frequently seen versions of the Lewis Key. It is described more fully in the write-up of the key below.
234a Another view of the LEWIS KEY: (16KB)

235 LEWIS KEY: (78KB) This all-plated Lewis key is an example of the early Lewis designs which did not include adjustments for side-play in the trunnion. The Lewis key patents referred to the unique and ornate design of the key rather than any distinguishing mechanical attributes. Stamped: LEWIS PAT. May 25, 1875, May 23, 1876 on top of lever and W.E.MFG CO. Chicago on side of lever..

ROTATING VIEW OF #235 LEWIS KEY: (202KB) This is a VERY LARGE FILE that takes a long time to load but it results in a view of a rotating Lewis Key. It is an experiment to see whether it would be a practical way to show many sides of the same key.

236 RAILROAD LEWIS KEY AND LEWIS CAMELBACK SOUNDER:(14KB) This is a classic Lewis Key with an unusual Lewis Camelback Sounder. The Key and Sounder were apparently used on the railroad because each is marked NPRR. The key is marked J-165 and the Sounder is marked J-166. I have included several different views of the set.
236a A closer view of the Lewis Key:(11KB)
236b A closer view of the markings on the Lewis Key:(9KB)
236c A closer view of the markings on the3 Camelback Lewis Sounder:(18KB)

237 LEWIS KEY AND SOUNDER:(16KB) Lewis key like 0235 with hard-to-find Lewis sounder.

238 * LEWIS KEY AND SOUNDER 'PRIVATE LINE' CAST-BASE KOB :(16KB) This Lewis Key and Sounder have their bases cast into the cast iron base of this 'private line set'. Private line sets such as this were used in private residences and in businesses to communicate within the bruiding. (Same as item 275.)
238a Closer view of the cast-base Lewis Key:(16KB)

239 LEWIS KEY KOB:(17KB) This is an all brass Lewis Key mounted on a wooden base with an early horizontal spring sounder.
239a Another View of the LEWIS KEY KOB:(41KB)

240 EARLY LYMAN PATENT KEY: (19KB) This key shows the unique Lyman patent design with the lever suspended by a "y" shaped piece of spring steel.
240a Another view of the EARLY LYMAN KEY: (19KB)

240e UNUSUAL AND EARLY NICKEL PLATED LYMAN PATENT KEY:(26KB) This is the first Nickel plated Lyman key that I have seen. It shows the unique Lyman patent design with the lever suspended by a "y" shaped piece of spring steel.
240f Another view of the Nickel Plated Lyman Key:(28KB)
240g Another view of the Nickel Plated Lyman Key:(30KB)
240h Another view of the Nickel Plated Lyman Key:(25KB)
240i A view of the bottom of the Nickel Plated Lyman Key:(31KB)

241 EARLY NICKEL-PLATED VICTOR PATENT LEGLESS KEY:(27KB) This lovely nickel-plated brass key shows the "Victor patent" knife-edge bearings. Rather than using a pinnion shaft, the key pivots on a knife- edge.
241a A slightly different view of the Victor Key:(30KB)

243 * VICTOR PATENT LEG KEY:(17KB) This lovely brass key shows the "Victor patent" knife-edge bearings. Rather than a pinnion shaft, the key pivots on a knife-edge. The legs attach the key to the operating table and also provide connections for the electrical wires.
243a Close-up view of Knife-edge pivot:(24KB)

245 * TILLOTSON KOB WITH TILLOTSON-VICTOR KEY:(17KB) This lovely brass key shows the "Victor patent" knife-edge bearings. It is stamped: Pats Dec 26, 1882. Both are stamped: L.G.Tillotson, 5 & 7 Dey St. New York. The base is stamped: 20 Ohms, L.C.T. & co. 8 Dey St.,N.Y.

248 * TILLOTSON CAMELBACK KOB:(15KB) This is a nice example of a Tillotson Camelback KOB. I have included several different views of the set.
248a Another view of the Tillotson Camelback KOB:(15KB)
248b Another view of the Tillotson Camelback KOB:(14KB)

250 GREELEY / TILLOTSON CAST-LEVER CAMELBACK KOB:(43KB) 'KOB' stands for 'Key (and sounder) on base'. Gold-painted early camelback key with cast iron lever, shorting switch & matching sounder on wooden base which is engraved E.S.GREELEY & Co. Successors to L.G.TILLOTSON & Co. New York. Too early for spring adjusting screws.

250aa GREELEY / TILLOTSON BRASS-LEVER CAMELBACK KOB:(41KB)Early camelback key with brass lever, shorting switch & matching sounder on wooden base which is engraved E.S.GREELEY & Co. Successors to L.G.TILLOTSON & Co. New York. Too early for spring adjusting screws.

251 * BUNNELL CAST-LEVER CAMELBACK KOB:(40KB) Made by Bunnell around 1860s. Cast-Iron Lever Camelback Key originally painted gold to look like brass. Like number 250 above on unmarked base.

252a * BUNNELL CAST-LEVER CAMELBACK KOB:(27KB) As above on base stamped 20 ohms. J. H. Bunnell.

254 BUNNELL CAMELBACK KOB:(42KB) Made by Bunnell around 1860s. Like 252a above with black-painted camelback key mounted on unmarked base. The sounder is mounted on a large thin brass plate. An interesting spring-adjusting screw was added by a railroad operator in 1945.

259 * MINIATURE CAMELBACK KOB:(50KB) About 3/4 size mini cast-iron-lever camelback key & small sounder on wooden base. No identification but all painted black with fine gold flower patterns on key & sounder.Too early for spring adj screw.

260 BUNNELL BRASS-LEVER CAMELBACK KOB:(73KB) Early brass lever camelback key with steel trunnion and shorting switch and black and gold painted sounder on wood base stamped 20 Ohms, J.H.Bunnell & Co., New York.
260aa BUNNELL BRASS-LEVER CAMELBACK KOB:(43KB) Similar to 260 above:

261 BUNNELL BRASS-LEVER CAMELBACK KOB:(44KB) Early brass lever camelback key with steel trunnion and shorting switch and black and gold painted sounder on unmarked wood base.

261aa * Another BUNNELL BRASS-LEVER CAMELBACK KOB:(47KB) Similar to above. This key is now on display in the National Cryptological Museum of the NSA in Baltimore, MD.:
261b * The Bunnell Brass-Lever Camelback KOB as it appears in the NSA National Cryptological Museum:(80KB)

262 * REDDING BRASS-LEVER CAMELBACK KEY KOB with brass-Lever key, on a cast iron oval base frame with a shorting switch. Key has spring adjusting screw. Mounted on wooden base which is engraved JEROME REDDING & Co BOSTON, MASS - 4 ohms Pat April 3D '77. Small piece of base back missing.>>W2PM

264 * REDDING BRASS-LEVER CAMELBACK KEY KOB. As above. No patent date or shorting switch.

266 EARLY UNKNOWN BRASS-LEVER CAMELBACK-KEY KOB:(41KB) Brass-lever camelback key with steel trunnion shaft, no spring adjusting screw, & brass shorting lever. All cast iron sounder. Both key and sounder have unusual bulges where trunnion shafts pass through. This is probably a Redding as above.

270 EARLY CAST-BASE TILLOTSON STRAIGHT-LEVER KEY PRIVATE-LINE KOB:(47KB)This private line KOB has a brass Key with a straight brass lever, steel trunnion shaft, spring adjusting screw, and brass shorting lever. The base is very heavy cast iron with a sounder stamped "BUNNELLS PATENT JULY 1874 No737" on the heavy brass armiture. These sets were often used in private residences in the 1870's.
270a Another view of the Private Line KOB:(44KB)
270b A closer view of the Bunnell Patent notice:(35KB)
270.gif Another view of the Private Line KOB:(53KB)

271 * CAST-BASE WESTERN ELECTRIC PRIVATE-LINE KOB:(23KB> Black cast-iron base with the Western Electric key that has two parallel rods as its lever.
271#2 CAST-BASE WESTERN ELECTRIC PRIVATE-LINE KOB:(20KB)Identical to number 271.

272 VERY EARLY L.G.TILLOTSON ALL BRASS KEY AND "APRIL-FOOL" SOUNDER KOB:(59KB) The key is a straight brass lever stamped L.G.TILLOTSON, 8 Dey St., New York. with no spring adjusting screw and a steel trunnion The sounder has two coils in line from front to back but the armiture is pivoted at the top center of one of the coils which can't possibly make any contribution to the operation of the sounder. (Did they not know this?) Sounder armiture stamped Patent App'd For. Wooden base stamped 6 Ohms, L.G.T. & Co. 8 Dey St. N.Y. Patented June 24, 1873.

273 ** VERY EARLY L.G.TILLOTSON ALL BRASS KEY AND REDESIGNED SOUNDER KOB:(46KB)This set appears to have been designed after Tillotson realized the error in the design of the ''April-Fool'' sounder shown above in item 272. The sounder now has both of the magnet coils pulling on the armiture. This set is labeled BLISS TILLOTSON and a pencilled-in address on the bottom shows that it was manufactured at 54 South 4th Street in Philadelphia where the company moved in 1874 which was the year after the above set was patented.
273a ** Closer views of the key and name:(51KB)
273b ** Closer view of the sounder and address:(60KB)

274 UNUSUAL ROUND TRUNNION FRAME KOB:(34KB) This is a very unusual early KOB with both the sounder and the key frame designed as circles. The maker is not known.
274a A Close view of the tiny key:(44KB)
274b A Close view of the sounder:(45KB)
274c Another view of the KOB:(27KB)
274d Another view of the KOB:(27KB)
274e Another view of the KOB:(33KB)
274f A View of the underside of the base:(39KB)

275 * CAST-BASE LEWIS KEY PRIVATE-LINE KOB:(21KB) This set has a Lewis-patent key and a Lewis sounder with their bases cast as integral parts of the large cast iron base. The lever of the key is stamped: Lewis Pat. May 28, 1875, May 26, 1876 on top and Western Electric Co. Chicago on the side. (Same as item 238.).
275a Closer view of Lewis Key:(21KB)

278 * VERY EARLY CHARLES WILLIAMS (Boston) CAMELBACK KEY: This is a fine example of the camelback keys made by Charles Williams in Boston. This camelback key was probably made after the next two Williams keys.
278a * The other side of the Williams key:

279 VERY EARLY CHARLES WILLIAMS (Boston) KEY:(30KB) Early brass straight lever key mounted on a wooden base with the Williams name stamped into the base.
279a Another View of the Williams Key:(29KB)
279b Another View of the Williams Key:(32KB)
279c Another View of the Williams Key:(23KB)
279d Another View of the Williams Key with the lever removed:(48KB)
279e A view of the name stamped into the base of the Williams Key:(51KB)
279f A view of the name stamped into the base of the Williams Key:(50KB)
279g A view of the bottom of the base of the Williams Key:(50KB)

280 * VERY EARLY CHARLES WILLIAMS (Boston) KEY & SOUNDER:(36KB) Early brass straight lever key and extremely early sounder mounted on a wooden base. Sounder design suggests that it is circa 1850's. Traded to W2PM

281 VERY EARLY AND UNUSUAL 'PUTT' NON-ELECTRIC PRACTICE SET:(36KB)This set is very similar to the Charles Williams Set listed as number 280. It has, however, no electric mechanism. Pressing down on the key operates a long metal bar hidden under the base which, in turn, pulls down the sounder. Each time the key is pressed, therefore, the sounder makes a clicking sound. The set was used for code practice without the need for batteries. The wooden base is stamped: PAT'D MAY 31.70 D.W.PUTT & Co. WELLSVILLE.O

285 VERY EARLY JAMES CLARK (Philadelphia) CAMELBACK KEY & BOX SOUNDER:(35KB) Very unusual camelback key with pull-down spring at far end and Prussian-like upswept lever mounted on wooden base with early wooden box sounder. Circa 1850s.
285a Closer view of key:(48KB) This view shows the shape of the lever and placement of the spring.
285b Side view of key showing curvature:(25KB)
285c Another side view showing curvature:(57KB)

287 EXTREMELY RARE JAMES CLARK (Philadelphia) WEIGHT-DRIVEN REGISTER and CAMELBACK KEY: James Clark instruments are very hard to find. This magnificent weight-driven register and camelback key with upswept lever show some of the unique features of his instruments.
287a Right Side view of the James Clark Camelback Key:
287b Left Side view of the James Clark Camelback Key:
287c Top view of the James Clark Camelback Key:
287d Bottom view of the James Clark Camelback Key:
287e Another View of the James clark Register and Key:
287f Another View of the James clark Register and Key:
287g End View of the James clark Register and Key:
287h Top View of the James clark Register showing the makers name:

298 SOUNDER D'EXERCICE:(56KB) Unique old miniature wooden resonator on pedistal with wooden key pivoted at base. Key mechanically connected to a bar which strikes an anvil inside the resonator making clicking sounds for practicing sending & receiving. Marked:SOUNDER D'EXERCICE,Alban La FON,EVEREUX. Signed R.Guillet,PTT twice.

315 BUNNELL NON-ELECTRIC PRACTICE SET:(39KB) Brass, horizontally-mounted sounder lever with small telegraph key knob attached directly to it. It was used to provide practice clicking sounds for people learning the Morse code without the need for batteries and wiring. Japanned, pinstriped frame on wooden base. Original box & stamps.

325 BUNNELL ARTICULATED NON-ELECTRIC PRACTICE SET:(15KB) Interesting combination of a brass sounder and telegraph key with a mechanical connection whereby pressing the key causes the sounder to move downward to make a click. It was used to provide practice sounds for people learning the Morse code without the need for batteries and wiring.
325a EARLY BUNNELL LOGO STAMPED INTO BASE:(22KB)

405 KNUDSEN MORSE REGISTER:(62KB) Made by Cornelius Knudsen in Denmark. - circa 1850 Before it was discovered that the Morse code could be copied by ear, "Registers" were used to print the characters on a paper tape for later transcription. These spring powered Registers continued to be used because they were thought to be more reliable than sound copy and because they made a permanent record. This is a very early brass register with an unusual armiture which presses the paper tape up against the (missing) pen to mark dots or dashes on the tape in ink. It has a key wound mechanism (with key) which runs constantly.

650 * EARLY L.G.TILLOTSON SOUNDER:(17KB)
Early all brass frame with brass armiture stamped L.G.Tillotson, 8 Dey St. New York with steel trunnion crimped into brass armiture. Horizontal adjusting spring. Wooden base. Notice the box-like anvil. It is similar to the Williams Sounder (Number 280) and the Putt practice set sounder (Number 281) seen above although those anvils were mounted on a single upright post.
650a A view of the other side of the sounder:(16KB)

685 * VERY EARLY L.G.TILLOTSON SOUNDER: Very early all brass frame with brass armiture stamped L.G.Tillotson, 26 Dey St. New York with steel trunnion crimped into brass armiture. Horizontal adjusting spring. Wooden base.

690 UNUSUAL VERY EARLY ROUND L. G. TILLOTSON SOUNDER:(29KB) Ornate brass design with brass armiture stamped L.G.Tillotson, 8 Dey St. New York, with steel trunnion crimped into brass. Horizontal adjusting spring. All mounted on ROUND plated brass base.

691 * VERY EARLY TILLOTSON SOUNDER: Medium size, all-brass sounder in excellent condition. Armiture is stamped "L.G.TILLOTSON & Co. 5&7 Dey St. New York." and "Pat'd Feb 16, 1875". Base is also stamped TILLOTSON and same address.

692 * VERY EARLY TILLOTSON SOUNDER: Similar to above but smaller. Armiture patent reads "Patent July 1874. No address on base. >Traded out.

693 * UNUSUAL TRANSITIONAL SOUNDER WITH VERTICAL AND HORIZONTAL SPRINGS:(17KB) This is an interesting sounder which has parts for both horizontal and vertical springs. Although the Anvil is broken off, you can see where the horizontal spring adjusting screw was mounted. You can also see how the vertical spring was mounted. The transition from horizontal springs to vertical springs is generally believed to signal a major shift in sounder design strategy and this sounder appears to incorporate both designs.
693a Another view of the Transitional Sounder:(16KB)

694 * VERY EARLY GREELEY SOUNDER: All plated. E. S.GREELEY & CO. 5 & 7 Dey St. New York.

740 VERY UNUSUAL SOUNDER-ACTUATOR?:(8KB) This extremely unusual sounder/Actuator was found at an abandonned railroad station in the far west. It is of cast iron construction and looks very early. The sounder mechanism has an added long lever which allows it to act as an actuator to perhaps activate another mechanical mechanism.

800 * EXTREMELY EARLY TILLOTSON RELAY:(33KB) This extremely early L.C. Tillotson relay exhibits the early spring-through-the-post design along with the post-mounted contacts. These features were abandonned early in the design of relays. It is stamped L.C.T. & CO. 6 DEY ST. NY. 60 ohms. Circa 1850's. (Traded to John Casale - W2NI.)

945 VERY EARLY TELEGRAPH PLUG-BOARD:(33KB) This board was used to connect office telegraph instruments to 4 telegraph lines. Brass plugs with insulated handles shorted the blocks together and made the connections.
945a Another view of the plug-board:(33KB)
945b The back of the plub-board:(32KB)


NOTE: I AM ALWAYS LOOKING TO BUY OR TRADE TELEGRAPH KEYS !


Professor Tom Perera
Montclair State University

Internet On-Line Telegraph & Scientific Instrument Museum:
http://w1tp.com
or:
http://www.chss.montclair.edu/~pererat/telegrap.htm
Internet ENIGMA Museum: http://w1tp.com/enigma