ITALIAN KEYS

Early Swiss / Italian  Post Office and Telegraph Office Hand Key. Circ 1860 - 1900.
 
This is a beautiful early Swiss / Italian Post Office and Telegraph Office heavy brass key with 1/2” X 5/16” X 4-1/2” straight lever with an adjustable pull-down spring beyond pivot. It has a doorknob shaped knob and make only contacts although the original wiring looks like it was set up as a break in key. Huge adjusting screws. 5-7/8” X 2”-13/16” Mahogany and Boxwood base with recessed wiring. Greg Ulsamer, DL1BFE, reports that this kind of key was first made in the 1850's by a Mechanicus by the name of Kaufman in the town of Solothurn and later by the 'Eidgenoessische Telegraphenwerkstaette' which was the workshop of the (governmental) Swiss Telegraph Administration. Since many of these keys are found in Italy, it has previously been assumed that they were Italian.
Portable Linesman Key and Sounder Telegraph Set - F. ROSATI. MILAN.1865 - 1900
This beautiful tiny linesman set which measures only 4" wide x 4 3/8" deep and 2" high made by F Rosati in Milan between 1865 and 1900 is an extremely well made instrument. This example with the number 38 embossed in the right hand corner of which I can only guess is either the line number or the linesman's number. It is a combination set with twin horizontal Sounder coils which relay the incoming message when the key is in the rest position and is inoperative when the key breaks in to send. There are terminals marked "L" for Line, + "Positive and - "Negative". Siemens Bros in London made a similar looking set during the same time period but the typical Italian design of this set makes it stand out from the Siemens version which overall looks chunky and lacks fine detail.
Italian straight key by Allocchio Bacchini A/320 circ 1930.
This straight Italian key manufactured and built in the 1930s by the company Aero-technique of Rome. This key was supplied to the Regia Aeronautica (Air Force) and Director Guard before and after WWII and was used almost exclusively with Allocchio Bacchini equipment. After the war it was also the key used by the RT security forces who really praised the construction and handling. Its design is similar to keys used by the Italian Post Office although those had wood bases and didn’t have the distinctive tear drop shaped spark guard that this key is known for. The large black Bakelite base has two holes suitable for fixing on the countertop. This key is difficult to find and is sought by telegraph key collectors and amateurs.  

POLISH KEYS

Polish Bocian (Stork) Straight Key circ 1965
This straight key was manufactured and supplied to the Liga Obrony Kraju better known as LOK which translated is the Polish National Defence League which was founded on 13 Nov 1962 and used mainly in the post-war military and paramilitary training. Manufactured in Poland but is clearly based on the famous long armed Swedish keys. It is constructed on a heavy cast iron base, painted either silver or green with a ball knob of red or white. It also has a similar spring arrangement to the Swedish Military and British NATO Naval Key in use after the war. It is a good solid key with this example being in great condition.
The above information and key was supplied by Joe SP6JOE, another collector who specialises in camelback keys and lives in Poland.
Polish Military Key circ 1960 – 65.
Only one of a few Morse keys made in Poland, this key was made around 1960-65 and is not commonly seen, in fact it is the only example I have seen. It is a simple key with cover which bears the logo ‘WZN’ and Zegrze underneath. WZN means Wojskowe Zakłady Naprawcze translated to Military Facilities Works (Military Repair Plant). This factory existed between 1959 and 1982. Zegrze is an area which is 30 km North of Warsaw, this key was made earlier than the famous polish key called "bocian" Stork Key. The cable and T-11 plug is original.
The above information and key was supplied by Joe SP6JOE, another collector who specialises in camelback keys and lives in Poland.

FRENCH KEYS

French P.T.T Key
 
This is a French  key that is based on the French Post Office design of 1882, though it could have been produced until just after 1900. This design of this key is shown in the book "L 'Electricite", by Baille, 1883. The fulcrum pin of this particular key is threaded and screws into the lever. 
One example seen has, "Digney Fres.& Diverneresse"  stamped into the lever. Fres. is the French abbreviation for 'brothers.'  Digney Fres., was a Paris based instrument maker, that have made a variety of telegraph instruments
French key ‘MANITONE’ manufactured by DYNA 1954 -1989.
 
Manufactured by DYNA was the famous MANITONE.
It was sold around 1954 and was still on sale in the 80s along with the MANIFLEX a double contact key which uses the same principle of lateral manipulation of the "double speed key" or "side swiper" Bunnell manufactured in the United States in 1888.
MANITONE's were available in several versions: naked, with a hood and cord, simply suppressed or double outlet with cord. The model fitted with the hood equipped planes such as the CARAVELLE. Suppressed models were approved by the Navy.
 
In financial difficulties since 1983 DYNA closed its doors in December 1989 after 68 years of activity in the service of radio. But the DYNA name will always remain in the memory of old radio operators who have all used, at some point in their career, one or other of these famous French manufactured Morse manipulators which sent millions of signals. DYNA have been delighting French operators, both professional and amateur for over 60 years. Now fallen into disuse, except for a few collectors and operators hungry for the nostalgia for the good old days of radio. This key has a great soft feel and very easy to use, I like it.
The 'American' Key Mk 2 manufactured by Dyna in 1947

This French key manufactured by Dyna from 1947 is the Mk 2 version of the American. It has a cast aluminium base with the Dyna logo cast in the left hand corner near to the contact. This key has slight differences from other examples I have seen and has a solid arm similar to that of the Dyna Marine key of 1938 rather than the folded sheet steel ones seen on other 'American' style Dyna practice keys. It is a nice key but does need mounting on a base to prevent it tipping forward when operating the long arm.
Christian F9WT corrected my description of this key and has informed me that this is a Mk 2 version manufactured from 1947 not 1938 as previously stated, I thank Christian for his input and correction, a link to his wonderful collection of keys, especially French keys, is available on my Links page.
Dyna Buzzer 1932 - 1983
 
The Dyna Buzzer first made it's appearance around 1932 and was used for training in reading the sound of Morse Code, the search for a significant point on a crystal when tuning a crystal radio or the construction of a wavemeter. This example is as new and came with it's instuction sheet showing differant ways of wiring for differant applications. They are often seen mounted on a practice key or an a seperate small base. The sheet has a date code at the bottom of March 1957 and dates this Buzzer around this time.
  Working Model of a French spark induction coil circ 1920 - 1930's
 
Lovely working model of a French spark induction coil with overall dimensions of 4 7/8" x 2 1/2". A beautiful model on a polished mahogany base with brass hardware. The card and tin foil condenser mounted in the base was burnt out when received but on investigation the card was found to be made of cut sections of a French order book giving addresses in small hamlets in France. The script gives an indication of date, that being of the 1920 - 1930's
French Spark Key circ 1920.
This key is assumed to be of French origin, due to the design and its similarity to the French military folding spark key from WW1. It has ceramic bead insulation on the line from the insulated, replaceable upper spark contact and also positions for a continuity strap between the arm and pivot block which can also be seen on the folding key. There is no indication of manufacturer so the origin is just an assumption. Any further information on this key would be greatly appreciated.

HUNGARIAN KEYS

Hungarian Homemade Practice Telegraph Set
Circ 1920 - 1940

This homemade practice telegraph set was made either in Hungary or by a Hungarian as can be seen by the code reference panels. The coil and battery holder is homemade as is the switch unit but both the key and buzzer are commercial units. There is a plug which can be docked into either the two red or two black sockets. The ends of the adjoining wires have banana plugs which appear to fit into the short tubes, these in turn fit inside the coil. Looking at the wiring underneath I am yet to see the purpose or functionality for the coil, although there is continuity through the wiring and components, this does have me baffled. I have so many unanswered questions regarding this set so if there is someone who can work it out I would love to hear from them. I am also yet to identify the beautiful small chrome key which has replaceable contacts. It has a maker’s logo of BF or BP with an accent over it or it may be birds wings, all encompassed within an elliptical circle. I feel that I have seen one before but just cannot place it. It is a great example of a homemade set from the 1920’s or 30’s.