Call Search
     

New to Ham Radio?
My Profile

Community
Articles
Forums
News
Reviews
Friends Remembered
Strays
Survey Question

Operating
Contesting
DX Cluster Spots
Propagation

Resources
Calendar
Classifieds
Ham Exams
Ham Links
List Archives
News Articles
Product Reviews
QSL Managers

Site Info
eHam Help (FAQ)
Support the site
The eHam Team
Advertising Info
Vision Statement
About eHam.net

   Home   Help Search  
Pages: [1]   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Old CW Key  (Read 3696 times)
FMOUSE
Member

Posts: 4




Ignore
« on: December 05, 2013, 08:32:52 AM »

I hope this is the right place to post this.  If not, please direct me to the proper forum.

My dad was a ham operator back in the '40s and early '50s (W4OIJ) and I have his CW key (CW was all he ever used) and I'd like to know more about it, if anyone can tell me anything.  It's marked "SIGNAL ELECTRIC MFG. CO.   MENOMINEE - MICH."  and appears to be quite well built.  I've seen pictures of telegraph equipment from the 1860s with very similar construction.  Here's a link to a picture of it.

Logged
KB4QAA
Member

Posts: 2279




Ignore
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2013, 09:11:30 AM »

Starting points:

http://k8ir.com/signal/signalindex.htm

http://kd2uj.com/Telegraphy/Signal%20Electric/default.html

http://www.rlinwood.com/family_webpage/linkpages/ham_radio/w0ui_morse_code_keys.htm

The Grandaddy of online key sites:
http://www.w1tp.com/

73, bill
Logged
W1JKA
Member

Posts: 1619




Ignore
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2013, 09:15:49 AM »

Yes the old Signal Electric keys are very well built, I have two of them (like yours) which are the only keys I use. Mine were my great grand dad's who bought them around 1890 and used them up through the 1930's and still with the original springs. If you like straight keys use it, you won't find anything better even today. If your key is an early production model as mine are it will have some type of silver looking metal fused on the brass cross arm for the pivot point tips.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2013, 09:25:57 AM by W1JKA » Logged
FMOUSE
Member

Posts: 4




Ignore
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2013, 09:51:40 AM »

This is probably of more recent manufacture, probably the 1940s.  My dad was in the Navy (taught radar technology during WWII) and when I was a child in the 40s the basement was full of surplus electronic gear which he picked up from the then-ubiquitous war surplus resellers.  I believe, though, that he bought this key on private market for hams, and it was probably new when he bought it.

Although I learned Morse code when I was a kid, I never got a ham license and my skills with electronics moved on to audio electronics and computers when I got older.   The key is a bit of a family heirloom, and sits in my living room, unused.  I took it apart recently to clean it (it had been sitting in an outbuilding for years) and was very impressed.  I hadn't seen mica insulators since I was little!

It's nice to even have something that was made with pride and quality and made to LAST, even if I don't get a lot of use out of it.  We also have a clock from my family that's almost 200 years old, with wooden works and cast iron weights.  It keeps perfect time!
Logged
KB4QAA
Member

Posts: 2279




Ignore
« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2013, 10:00:51 AM »

Thanks for posting the photo.  Signal is one of those manufacturers that catered to industry and less to hams.  It is seldom brought up in discussions, so this is a great opportunity to learn a little more history.  bill
Logged
FMOUSE
Member

Posts: 4




Ignore
« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2013, 10:30:17 AM »

Once I started researching it on the Internet I found no shortage of information about it - old catalogs, company history, etc.
Logged
K7MH
Member

Posts: 328




Ignore
« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2013, 07:40:13 PM »

There are a lot of them out there, I sold one recently and see them often at hamfests, on ebay etc.
If you want to spend the time on it, it should really look good after some 4-0 steel wool, some polish with MAAS and
a coat of lacquer.
Logged
FMOUSE
Member

Posts: 4




Ignore
« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2013, 08:53:12 PM »

I already did a lot of cleaning on it.  It was pretty grubby.  The mica is fragile and I probably won't be taking it apart again.
Logged
Pages: [1]   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!