History of communication over distances greater than human voice:
      Hand signals, fire beacons, flags, mechanical semaphores, telegraph 
      Derivation of the word Telegraph: Tele=Far;  Graph=Graphien=To Write
1830s Needle Galvanometers were in use in England to indicate railroad
         track conditions & control trains. Later used to receive letters.
1833  Samuel Morse demonstrated first device to send signals over wires.
         Close switch on 1 end of wire, mark paper tape on other end.
              Device used to mark signals is called a REGISTER.
              Not until 1849 did people think of receiving code by ear. 
              Designed a SOUNDER - mounted in a wooden box (a resonator) 
              to mechanically amplify sound.
1844  First true key. Vail's "Correspondent" Straight lever. Lasted 4 yrs. 
1848  Thomas Hall-Boston.  Add weight to rear & curve down
      Hinde & Williams-Boston.  Heavier lever & coil spring
      Charles Chubbuck-NY.  Leaf spring to center of key
          Led to development of "CAMELBACK" or "humpback" curved lever key.
          Lasted 12 yrs because steel pivot pin worked loose in brass lever.
1849  Need for portable set led to Key & Sounder on same Base (KOB) set.
1857  Portable pocket KOB set called "Lineman's Test Set"
1860  Phelps (Western Union chief engineer) invented adjusting screw for 
          spring tension. (A major improvement)
1865  End of camelbacks. Lever brass wore out against steel trunnion.
1869  Camelback curve removed and lever smoothed to Bradley style of today.
1875  Western Electric introduced "Lewis" key of Nickel on ornate base.
1879  Walter Phillips abbreviated most words. Cut transmitting time by 1/3.
1881  Jesse H. Bunnell first steel lever key - the "Triumph" key.
          within 1 year accepted by all companies and all railroads.
          Big business with fierce competition. (Hamilton patent of 1883).
1883  L.G.Tillotson "Victor Key" knife edge bearing mfg by Bunnell to 1920. 
1886  "Steiner Key" (Western Electric) No pivot. Hard to adjust.
      Western Electric "Pole Changer key" for complex land lines.
              A. J. Maloney & A. G. Johnson - "Convertible key"
              could be turned on its side to allow horizontal operaton.
1888  High volume of traffic led to "Telegrapher's paralysis" Now called 
          "Carpal Tunnel Syndrome". Bunnell's horizontal action"Sideswiper" 
          also called the  "double-speed key" helped reduce the pain.
1900  Foote Pierson Co. mfg. Skirrow & Shirley's "20th Century Key"
          Nicknamed "Pump Handle Key" Popular with Railroad operators.
1902  Charles Yetman - Typewriter morse code sender-hard to send steadily.
1900s Signal Electric Company - mfg. large line of telegraph apparatus
      Manhattan Electric Supply Co. (MESCO).  "  "  "   "    "    "    ".
      Sears & Montgomery Ward and others sold above keys with no mfg names.
      RCA Institutes trained large numbers of telegraphers on KOB sets.


     "RADIO KEYS": - Spark transmitters needed keys with HUGE contacts.
1896  Marconi-Grasshopper spark key cut out receiver when transmitting.
1904  Oil keys with immersed contacts to reduce sparking.
      American deForest key with 1 inch silver contacts for 10KW xmttr.
      United Wireless Instrument key-marble base, skirted knob.
1905  Slaby-Arco "Door knob" key used with high power spark transmitters.
1910  Radio Amateurs made many "Dime Keys" by soldering dimes to contacts.
1911  Marconi Co. Open circuit key with closing switch & Heavy contacts.
1915  Clapp-Eastham "Boston Key" - marble base & German silver contacts. 
      US Navy key with 1/2 inch silver contacts & brass cooling fin.
      Bunnell began making keys with replacable contacts copied by Signal 
           Electric Co. eventually led to the Johnson Hand key of 1930s.
1916  Signal Electric Key with 1/4, 3/8, or 1/2 inch contacts.
1920  Sideswipers by "Cootie", Bunnell, RECO, Montgomery Ward, and Sears.
1940s Many specialized keys made for WWII. Many J-series keys.

BUGS: - developed from the need to send faster code.

1902  Horace G. Martin - AUTOPLEX - used batteries to hold pendulum for
         dashes & release it for dots.
         Cleverly wrote patent to cover virtually all automatic dot keys.
1904  Martin introduced his "VIBROPLEX" Original.         Lasted 90 years.
1906  William Caffe "MECOGRAPH" right-angled key works on release of
         spring tension thereby bypassing Martin's patent.
1907  Modified by Benjamin Bellows & Ambrose Behner.
1909  Modified for easier adjustment of dots by Bellows.
      Hulit Co.-Topeka KS Full automatic, key wound Key" Lasted 3 years. 
1909  Thomas Dunn-Convertible Sideswiper and semiautomatic bug.
      Vail-O-Graph, MacDonald double lever key
      Max Levy - A-to-Z Novelty Co. "Improved Vibroplex."
      MARTIN SUED ALL IMITATORS, WON, And then LICENSED all bugs that 
          passed his test. J.E. Albright license tag attached to bootleg 
          bugs which were then called "Albright bugs" or "Legal bugs".
1911  Martin used Hulit's 2 levers for his double lever Vibroplex.
1912  "X" model Vibroplex. 1 Contact for both dots & dashes.Lasted 13 yrs.
1914  Vibroplex #4 (smaller/portable) which later became the "BLUE RACER".   
      Martin bought Mecograph patents.-> Martin Vibroplex & Mecograph Co.
1917  Vertical Vibroplex "Wire Chief's Key" less space - Lasted  8 years.
1920s CW REPLACED SPARK. Smaller contacts. Bugs could now be used.
1922  Walter Lytle-Philadelphia-TRIPLEX-3way-straight,sideswipe,bug.
      J.H. Bunnell's "Gold Bug".  Pretty key with terrible "feel".
1923  Martin Number 6 - called the "VIBROPLEX LIGHTNING" in the 1930s.
1925  The "Ultimate" (A miniature key).  SEMANTIC-Sideswiper/semi auto.
      KEEN KODE KEY-keyboard dots & lever dashes. 
      COLORED base Vibroplexes.  Martin Jr. (Larger contacts.)
1929  RADIO SPEED BUG - The only kit bug ever made. Sold for less than $5.
1930s Martin left Vibroplex. Formed Martin Research Co. Martin FLASH KEY.
      Les Logan Co-> SPEED-X keys often misnamed Logan Bugs-Later Johnson.
      GO-Devil semi-auto/sideswiper.  SPEED BUG-Bklyn Metal Stamping Co.
      SPEED KING-T.R. McElroy who demonstrated cw copy at 75WPM!!
          Mfg his MAC-KEY.  Then his deluxe SUPER SPEED STREAM key.
          McElroy also involved in mfg Telegraph Apparatus Co.(TAC) bugs.
      ELECTRO BUG:Switch in base adjusts electrically operated dot relay.
1940s MELEHAN VALIANT-fully automatic- designed by Melvin E. Hansen.
      Lytle Triplex - Later called the DOW key.
1994  Vibroplex new owner: S. Felton Mitchell, Jr. WA4OSR
           Address: 11 Midtown Park Ease. Mobile, AL 36606-414


Professor Tom Perera
Montclair State University

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