British Military Keys - Navy

Royal Navy A.P. 5475 Morse Key with Remote Control Coil circ 1939.

This Royal Naval Morse Key Admiralty Pattern 5475 Morse Key, complete with Remote Control Coil, is a great example of this extremely rare Key. The remote control coil consists of a single 1300 Ohm coil mounted inside the enclosure at the front of the key under the twin arms. The coil has the following, stamped on the inner identification label, “Patt. 33 1300 Ohms VMCO 1939“and is in fully working condition. VMCO is probably the manufacturer’s name “V M Co?” more research is needed to establish this. It has heavy contacts both on the make and break positions and was probably used with high voltage spark and valve transmitters both as a primary key but also from a remote position by a lighter key or relay. If anyone has further information regarding the use of this key then please contact with me.
Royal Navy Admiralty Pattern No ???? Morse Signal Key circ 1930.

This extremely rare Royal Naval Morse Key based on the A.P. 5475 is mounted on a cast aluminium alloy base with the cast Trademark of Alpax on the underside. Alpax is the Trademark of Lightalloys Ltd of St Leonard Road, Willesden Junction London who, in 1922 was responsible for the introduction of Alpax, a modified aluminium silicon alloy, into the U.K. By 1926 the company was incorporated to acquire a private company of the same name and also were allied with Fermans Die Castings Ltd of London. Alpax was described in the Observatory dated 1933 as “A ductile silicon-aluminium alloy which had a higher resistance to corrosion than any other aluminium alloy and will withstand unfavourable atmospheric conditions including moist sea air, in both temperate and tropical climates”. How much of this key is made of this alloy is unclear but it was obviously used because of the extreme conditions this key was used in. Generally, this key looks similar to the A.P. 5475 and could be a variant of it but does have distinctive differences mainly to the design of the arm which is square in section and has a circular flange assembly behind the knob. This flange had remnants of a rubber or weatherproof material sandwiched between the two sections indicating that this key was housed in a waterproof housing and therefore situated outside on an open deck or bridge. It has the same heavy contacts, spring assembly and overhead contact mounting as the 5475 but its true identification label would probably have been mounted on the enclosure. I have, to date, never seen another example of this key so if anyone has further information please contact with me.
British Morse Telegraph Key .
Admy. Patt. 7681 (Navy) Serial No P368 Dated 1928.
A nice early version of this British Naval Key. Missing the cable clamps and sheet metal cover but still in a good original condition.
British Morse Telegraph Key .
Admy. Patt. 7681 (Navy) Serial No L.M. 3438
A nice example. Date and manufacturer Unknown.
British Morse Telegraph Key . Admy. Patt. 7681 (Navy)
Manufactured by Ward and Goldstone Ltd. Salford. Manchester.
With vast 5/16" Dia. contacts. The Bakelite bottom measures approx 5.5" by 3.5" (142mm by 89mm).
On the base is stamped:
"ADMY.PATT. No 7681. KEY MORSE (ADMY. PATT. = Admiralty Pattern).
A white W.G. paint stamp indicates Ward and Goldstone Ltd.  
A great key to use with a very smooth, clean movement.
Weight is about 700g.
This was the last version of this Key.
British Morse Telegraph Key . Admy. Patt. 65485 (Navy)
Serial No 519 A.G.I Ltd. Dated 1952.
Royal Navy Admiralty Pattern "A.P.65485" Morse telegraph key complete with the rare cover. Both the key and cover are in good condition although the cover appears to have been re-painted at some time. The Morse key is labelled "ADMIRALTY PATTERN 65485 KEY MORSE. A.G.I Ltd. SERIAL No. 519 Dated 1952".
A.G.I. Ltd stands for Aeronautical & General Instruments Ltd which was formed in 1915 as Radio Instruments Ltd based in Croydon and supplying a range of both military and civilian equipment including early crystal radio sets. In 1936 the shares became publicly listed and the company became A.G.I. Ltd. which is still in existence today.
The key with cover measures approx 4 & 3/4" by 3" and 3 & 1/2" high inc. knob (120mm by 75mm by 90mm). Weight of the key is about 1Kg.
British Morse Telegraph Key .
Admy. Patt. No. X-691. (Navy)
W.G. YEAR 1943.
Royal Navy ADMY PATT No X. 691.
This is a scarce Navy A.P. X.691 key and although missing its cover is still a hard key to find.
The identification on the front edge reads "ADMY PATT NoX.691. KEY, MORSE. W.G. YEAR 1943"
(W.G. = Ward & Goldstone Ltd. Salford, Manchester, England). Designed and made by Marconi owned companies in the UK in the 1940's and featured in Morsum Magnificat magazine MM40 page 41.
Identical to the Royal Navy ADMY PATT 65485.
Key WT 8 Amp No2 Mk II, ZA 3145, simplified tensioner (Group 11) Naval Key.
While Keys WT 8 Amp have been identified in this survey principally for Army applications, plus a few as used by the RAF, two have been identified in a Navy application. One is a Key WT 8 Amp No2 Mk II, ZA 3145, simplified tensioner (Group 11), with a 10A/7790 knob from an RAF bathtub key, mounted on an ADMIRALTY PATTERN 1271 BUZZER REPEATER AND KEY UNIT, SER. No. WER 8906.
The other is in a similar AP 1271 Unit, reported with a three bracket, simplified tensioner, Key WT 8 Amp (notionally Group 8). This key has no base of its own, but is incorporated into the unit's base. The knob is also a type 10A/7790. It has been suggested, but not confirmed, that this type of unit was used on large warships for internal communications between the main W/T office and other offices. As well as the 'phones earpiece it has a miniature bulb which was used to attract attention when the Radio Supervisor was calling.
British NATO Key
NATO Key has preset tension settings. It was designed for use by NATO forces.
Made in the 1970/80’s by Pryce Edwards Ltd and Marconi S. & R. Systems Ltd.
The cover of this key is battleship grey painted brass. It weighs a hefty 3-1/2 lbs.
The cover measures 8" by 3.25" (203mm by 83mm) but the keys overall length is 10.5" (268mm).

British Military Keys - Airforce

The classic MARCONI Air Ministry (A.M.) "D Type" Key. Designated 10F/7373.
The classic MARCONI Air Ministry (A.M.) "D Type" Key. Designated 10F/7373. A fine big ground station key with large contacts.
A magnificent morse key on a par with the Marconi Marine keys of the same era.
Early versions have "MARCONI'S WIRELESS TELEGRAPH Co. Ltd. No xxxxx LONDON" inscribed on the base, later ones have unmarked bases.
Used on the high voltage portion of circuitry in a transmitter, therefore the unit is fully enclosed to protect the operator.
British Air Ministry D Type Morse Key Ref 10F-7373
Manufactured by Sett & Co

This rare D Type Air Ministry ground station Key 10F-7373 was manufactured by and stamped Sett & Co. It is rare to find a Type D key on a wood base and even rarer to find one with a wooden cover. The key is made completely of brass and to the usual specifications found on the more regularly found Bakelite mounted and cased versions. On the front edge of the wood base is a stamping of Sett & Co, there is also a circle with AID XY8 inside it, and the stores reference 10F-7373 stamped on the rear edge. This in itself is unusual as the 10F and the 7373 would normally be separated by a slash (/) rather than a dash (-). The circular stamped mark is a quality control mark of the Aeronautical Inspection Directorate with the XY8 being a reference to the inspecting officer this confirms the place of manufacture being in the U.K., thanks to Steve from the Air Ministry website for providing this information. After carrying out extensive research no information or history of the manufacturer has been found. The cover is as well made as the rest of the key with dovetailed corners and is an exact copy of the Bakelite covers found on other keys. This example was purchased from Snowflake, Arizona, in the United States in March 2016, how it found its way there is also a mystery.
British Air Ministry (A.M.) Key. Pattern 2426. Designated 10A/1975.
A check of Air Publication 1086- Vocabulary of Stores, gives 10A/1975 as “Keys, Transmitting, Pattern 2426”. It was a standard Morse key within the RAF, being used on most stations for transmitting Morse code.
Bryan Legate
Assistant Curator
Department of Research & Information Services
Royal Air Force Museum London
020 8358 4810
I purchased this key, on it's own, two years ago and have only recently made a purchase of a brass case with a quite poor homemade key from the 1950's. It wasn't until I found the brass label rivited inside that identified it as one for a Key Patt No 2426 and in turn with the 10A/1975  key that I already had in the collection. There was only one thing for it and that was to marry them back together and as is shown they fit perfectly. I have only seen two others, one of which has the label as shown above confirming that the 10A/1975 is the Pattern 2426 Key.  
British Marconi Morse Key Air Ministry Type B1 , Ref 10F/7839
Manufactured circ 1910-14.
Brass key with copper contact strips it has a Bakelite base and would have had a Bakelite cover but they were very fragile and easy to damage, so keys with cover are very uncommon.
It is a large key measuring 10 inches by 4.5 inches approximately 250mm by 110mm and weighs in at 2lb 8oz (1141grams) with the cover
A very scarce and unusual key, it has large front Mark contact like the Type D key but the Space contact at the rear is mounted on its own flat leaf spring which is made when the key is at rest and opens the contact when the key is depressed. The arm is insulated from the Space contact by means of a red insulating cone.
It was used with large spark transmitters of the day as is evident by the use of contact strips, insulation and cover, all to protect the operator of the very high currents used.
British Spark Key. Air Ministry ref 1969. Circ 1910.
This flameproof spark key made by S. G. Brown, London from around 1910 has the Air Ministry ref 1969. It is quite a rare key to find, this example unfortunately is missing the aluminium cover which would have covered the entire workings of the key and would have had a circular Mica disc over the rear spark gaps. It is documented by other collectors to have been used initially on airships as well as planes and that the reason for the rear spark gap is because the spark indicator was on a separate circuit to the key and was attached to the aerial with a probable use of to protect the volatile contents of the airship from stray currents. The spark gap on this key is on the earth and receiver line so my thoughts are that it would have been to protect the receiver from high voltage currents on the earth line when transmitting and when the key is in the rest and receive position. It may even have been an indicator to incoming signals.
British Air Ministry Spark Key. Circ 1910 - 1930.

This Air Ministry spark key has no identifying makers mark but due to its similarities, could have been manufactured by S. G. Brown of London, around 1910. It is quite a rare key to find and unlike other known examples which have a cover, this example has no cover or securing position for one so is complete as seen. It is a nicely manufactured key of brass, mounted on a Vulcanite base which in turn is mounted on two aluminium securing plates for final mounting. It is a “make” only key with no “break” contact, used on systems of high current which is seen by the wire connecting the pivot bar to the base preventing arching through the rotating parts. The knob and arm is secured to the pivot rod but insulated from the pivot bar by two Vulcanite plates and four tapered pins. If anyone knows of which system it was used on please contact me.
Model: R.A.F. Type F "Bathtub" Morse key Ref. N°. 10A/7741 - MILITARY U.K. different makers
Material Bakelite case, Dimensions (WHD) 40 x 70 x 135 mm / 1.6 x 2.8 x 5.3 inch
Notes R.A.F "Bathtub" Flameproof Key, Ref.N° 10A/7741.
This was the standard key used in British (and Canadian) bombers such as the Lancaster, Halifax and Wellington aircraft during WWII. It is enclosed for use in explosive environments. All of the parts are brown Bakelite. The wire terminals are on top, and the adjustments are inside. The clip holds the cover closed, and can also be slipped over the skirt of the knob to hold it down and so send out a continuous signal. This allowed the radio operator to parachute out of a damaged plane while still sending a homing signal for rescue craft.  0.240 kg / 0 lb 8.5 oz (0.529 lb) .                        
British Brass RAF Spark Morse Key. Type RAF No.1 Key. Circa 1920.
The lower contact is mounted on a metal strap, there is a heavy wire between the lever and the support piece. Note the extra two smaller terminals and a bulb holder with bulb. This key is in very good almost unused condition.
British Brass Key. Marked Air Ministry 10F/2533 (designation 10F/2533) circ 1920.
RAF Air Ministry  10F/2533. Once sold as WW I surplus by Dixon's of London. Some were plated brass with designation 10F/2533 and the RCAF had the exact key with a different knob designated 10A/556.

Air Ministry 10F/2533 hand keys by A. Mason of Belmont Surrey Circ 1918.

This is a pair of Air Ministry 10F/2533 hand keys manufactured by A. Mason of Belmont, Sutton. Surrey, mounted and linked together on a timber base. They have a cover with a rear opening flap which gives access for wiring up. One of the keys has the stamped mark of A.C.C. which is yet to be confirmed of its definition, possibly Air Control Centre but I am open to suggestions. These keys are linked together with the positive and negative terminals of each key permanently linked. They are very well made and due to them having a cover fitted are in great condition. One key is missing the knob skirt and the other one the manufacturer’s disc label.
British Military issue Hand Key
probable manufacturer Muirhead & Co Ltd. circ 1920.
This British Military issue hand key as denoted by the MOD arrow just behind the knob on the top side of the arm. A nicely manufactured key probably manufactured by Muirhead & Co Ltd but not proved as no manufacturers mark is present.
Any information on this key is welcome.
This scarce Walters key named the 12 oz type 51 with a designated Air Ministry code of 10F/20366  was used in the Vulcan ‘V’ class Bombers versions B.1 & B.2 in a military role and also in a civilian role in the de Havilland Comet Aircraft and dates from a period of the 1950’s. It has a double spring tension arrangement and has a removable cover to enclose any sparking of the contacts when in operation.

BRITISH HAND KEY NATO-5805-99-901-7902.
This short version of the Type 51 Key manufactured by Walters Electrical Manufacturing Co Ltd and with the NATO stock number of
5805-99-901-7902 dates this key to after 1974 as this is the time that the NATO number format changed to show the country of manufacture i.e. United Kingdom and depicted by the number 99 is shown like this.
BRITISH HAND KEY NATO-5805-99-901-7024 AND
SWITCH ASSEMBLY NATO-5930-99-625-6995.
This short version of the Type 51 Key manufactured by Walters Electrical Manufacturing Co Ltd and with the NATO stock number of 5805-99-901-7024 dates this key to after 1974 as this is the time that the NATO number format changed to show the country of manufacture i.e. United Kingdom and depicted by the number 99 is shown like this. This example is mounted on a steel base of which is mounted a switching unit with a NATO stock number of 5930-99-625-6995. The application of this key and switch assembly has not yet been established so any help would be appreciated.
British Military ZA 54574. MK 119. Clandestine Radio Hand Key circ 1950

At first glance you would say that this key was a variation of the German T2 Training key used by the Luftwaffe during WW2. Everything about it says that it is German from the silent contacts to the design of the knob; the similarities are quite evident and were probably manufactured by the same German companies after the war but for use by the allied forces. I have measured all the threads on this key and they are all BA form which puts it firmly in the British camp. I have discovered that this key was used with the MK 119 Clandestine Radio Set. It is documented in Morsum Magnificat (MM) 23 page 44 as being designated the Army Stores Code of ZA 54574.

This key was acquired from Paul Budge in July 2017 who has passed on the following information regarding its history
I know very little about its history. I acquired it as a member of the RAF Amateur Radio Club when I was working as an attached civilian to the Army in Gutersloh, Northern Germany, between 1980 and 1995. RAF Gutersloh was the largest overseas RAF base and airport in the world other than those in the UK but was handed over to the army after the fall of the Berlin Wall. By about 1993 all RAF personnel had left that part of Germany. You will find many details by searching the Internet.
As the last remaining member of the club at the time of the handover I was offered the chance to remove all of the surplus equipment (which did not amount to very much) and the key was part of that.
Having already passed the Ham Radio Morse code test I really had no use for the key. I only took the test to gain a class a licence so that I could transmit on the HF bands. My call signs were DA!GP and G0MGQ. Since that time the key has been sitting around gathering dust and I am delighted that you will enjoy its ownership.

With best wishes, Paul Budge

RAF Gutersloh

The former Royal Air Force Station Gutersloh, more commonly known as RAF Gutersloh, was a Royal Air Force Germany airbase, the nearest Royal Air Force air base to the East/West German border. It was constructed by the Germans prior to World War II. The base was captured by the Americans in April 1945 it was handed over to the RAF in June 1945 as Headquarters No. 2 Group RAF. 
During its history as an RAF base, it was home to two squadrons of the English Electric Lightning F2/F2A - No. 92 Squadron RAF and No. 19 Squadron RAF from 1968 to 1976. It then became home to No. 3 Squadron RAF and No. 4 Squadron RAF flying successive variants of the BAe Harrier. After the Harriers left, the RAF continued to operate helicopters, No. 18 Squadron RAF with the Boeing Chinook and No. 230 Squadron RAF with the Puma HC1. 
18 squadron Wessex left R.A.F Odiham in 1969 for R.A.F. Gutersloh and disbanded in 1980 when 230 squadron took over
Date Disbanded: 1980

British Aircraft Spark Key by Joseph Lucas Ltd. Circ 1910 - 1930.

This hard to find spark key has no identifying makers mark but is documented on the Telegraph Office website as being manufactured by Joseph Lucas Ltd of Birmingham. Originally this key would of had a cover, complete with leather boot, around the protruding part of the arm and knob, protecting the contact sparks from gasses and vapours in the environment it was being used. An example of this key with the cover can be seen on the website, of which a link can be found on the links page of this site. This Lucas key was used during WW1 and was sold as surplus shortly after. It is a small key with the oblong brass base plate, which is relieved on the underside, measuring only 3 ½” x 1 ¾”. The Vulcanite key base is angled on the corners, allowing for the cover to be screwed to the base plate, but is in itself insulated from the base plate by a thin sheet of card and Mica. It has only two terminal posts, a tapered pivot pin and replaceable contact points; it is a great addition to the collection.

The top two images are of another addition to the collection a second Lucas key. It can now be established that the base on the first key was a replacement with this second key having a red base with wedge shaped cutting which shows a heavy earth contact bar. The exact use of this is uncertain but probably used to earth the whole assembly, including the radio transmitter to the aircraft. Any other ideas would be welcome.

British Military Keys - 8 Amp

Reference has been found to the No2 key with P.O. type tensioner in an equipment specification dated 1926. Until 1939, these keys had bases with sharp corners. The last ones of this type made in the UK seem to be dated 1941, with a slight change in design (ie, to bases with rounded corners), while they apparently continued in production in Australia until 1944.  
Note that there are also No2 keys with simplified spring tensioner (compression spring)
Manufactured by TB&S (Thomas Bolton & Sons) in 1944. The base has radius corners, Taper bearing pin, no finger plate with no country of manufacture indicated
This is an unusual WT 8 Amp key mounted in a cast brass / bronze cover painted grey so either Air Force or Navy issue. On the under-side the manufacturer marking has been machined out as to disguise it’s source. It may have been on special service missions and appears to read M K & Co Ltd 194? This seems to be a manufacturer that has not been noted and to date I have never seen a key mounted within this type ofcover before. The base is marked Key WT 8 Amp No2.

This is another unusual WT 8 Amp No2. Key, mounted on a fibrous brown base embossed with the Air Ministry mark so obviously assembled and used by the Royal Air Force but with no manufacturers markings to denote who originally manufactured the components of this key.
Dated 1940 – 1945.
Overlapping with keys having the more complicated PO type tensioner, this version of the No2 key seems to have been produced in the UK by one company only, during 1939 and 1940, with one other version made in Canada in 1941.
No Ref, Radius cornered base, Parallel Bearing Pin. Manufactured by WER (Whiteley Electrical Radio Co Ltd. 109 Kingsway, London. W.C.2.) in 1939.
No Ref, Radius Cornered Base, Parallel bearing pin. Manufactured by Ericsson Telephones Ltd, Beeston, Nottinghamshire (now Plessey and G.E.C.). Rowland Cox, G4AL, worked at the Beeston factory until he retired. He remembers the keys being made there in 1940, and managed to obtain one. The survey lists only three versions made by this company, ie, Group 1, No2, ZA4511, 1940; Group 2, No3, ZA4605, 1941; and Group 6, Key Signalling No2, undated, installed in a Fullerphone.
Insulating sleeve and finger guard under knob noted on some keys.
Noted in Unit Operator No1 MkII, YA 8414; also in BUZZER SIG. TRAINING set.
Ref ZA 4605 , Radius cornered Base, Parallel bearing pin.
Manufactured by WER (Whiteley Electrical Radio Co Ltd. 109 Kingsway, London. W.C.2.) in 1940.
Ref 10F/2533, Radius cornered base, Parallel Bearing Pin with Finger Plate.
Manufactured by WER (Whiteley Electrical Radio Co Ltd. 109 Kingsway, London. W.C.2.) in 1940.
Also marked 'AM' Air Ministry (with crown). 10/F coding indicates use by RAF.
Ref ZA2869, Radius Cornered Base, Including 5th Hole, Parallel Bearing Pin. Manufactured by H&C. No country or year of manufacture noted.
This key is documented as having a moulded brass nickel plated arm, square ends, with arm and spacers cast as one piece although this key is not nickel plated. Note that the arm of the apparently identical key listed in a ZA 4390 Assembly, is not nickel plated. 
All keys in this group have a bakelite arm and base.
Has NATO number - Y1/5805-99-104-0214. Some have arm stamped "N", just in front of knob. Some noted with BUZZER SIG. TRAINING 6350-99-446-4165 (also NATO No.)
Parallel bearing pin, no manufacturers mark and no year of manufacture.

British Military Keys - Training

Buzzer Training Unit – Telephone Manufacturing Company Ltd. No 453 dated 1928.
TMC was formed to service one company, but grew into a supplier to many companies and Governments. It was never big, but it was always there. Unlike so many of its competitors, TMC survives today.
In 1902 telephones were still a new but now accepted business service, but most businesses still relied on one or two telephones within their building. Firms like Sterling and GEC were selling intercoms, but it was a struggle because of the high costs involved in purchase of the phones and wiring in the new system. Frederick Jackson saw a way around these problems. He had worked for The Private Telephone Company in London, and had risen to become Company Secretary. PTC was a telephone operating company, using equipment imported from H Fuld in Germany. A number of other substantially German-owned operating companies were doing the same in Britain at the time.
PTC was renamed New System PTC, and offered internal telephones for rent rather than purchase. This made it economic to change a business over to phones rather than continue with message wires or speaking tubes.
Jackson left New System PTC and joined a rival company, Intercommunicating Telephones, in 1908. The timing was good, as the British Post Office was now taking over the various operating companies around Britain. Internal phone systems, however; were left alone. He expanded the company, and even took over his old employer, New System. The phones were still supplied by Fuld.
Air Ministry Key and Buzzer Practice Set 10F/4067 circ 1930

This is a practice set used by the R.A.F. to train cadets in radio communication. It has a key and buzzer assembly wired on a board with position for headphones and two contact pads for the battery. These sets are frequently found and still make good practice sets today.
Buzzer Training Unit – E.T. Ltd
Ericsson Telephones Ltd, Beeston, Nottinghamshire
(now Plessey and G.E.C.) - N.58353 circ 1940.

British Military Keys - Others

British morse key made by WD Wireless Factory No4. Soho, London. 1914 -1918.
British key made by W.D. Wireless Factory No 4: Soho. London W. No 2.  Probably during World War 1, before 1918, because WD Wireless factory existed until 1918. They produced mostly transmitters, especially for R.A.F., for example transmitter type 52M.
More information from the Imperial War Museum in London.
Dimensions are about 19x 5 cm.
British military key for Wireless Set No. 48.
This is principally a standard flame proof key J-5-A made by Western Electric in the U.S.A. during WW2 with transmit/receive switch fitted on top mounted on a Paxolin plate. The assembly is designed to be placed on the operator's leg and fastened by means of the canvas web straps provided.  This wireless Set was ordered by the British Supply Mission as an alternative production to Wireless Set No. 18.
Signal Lamp Mk2 Transmitting Key circ 1914-18

This transmitting key is from a Signal Lamp Mk2. It was manufactured between 1915 and 1920 by Joseph Lucas and would have made up a complete assembly consisting of a black painted metal electrical battery powered lamp, with attached view sight and detachable mounting stand. Carried within a painted wooden box with hinged top and webbing fabric covered lid. The Morse code key was attached to the inside of the hinged lid. There was also a brown leather carrying strap attached to box. This was used by allied troops to communicate between the trenches by light during WW1 The complete unit had a total height of 408mm a length of 240mm and a width of 150mm.
McMurdo key assembly 5805-99-949-2729.  Circ post 1974.

This tiny key was manufactured by McMurdo Industries in Portsmouth England and was used on many post WW2 British and Australian radios. This example carries the NATO Stock Number of 5805-99-949-2729 which dates it to after 1974 when countries of origin codes were added, in this case 99, which denoted United Kingdom. It is an assembly comprising of the key and a send/receive switch mounted on a steel plate which would of had a canvas strapping for attaching to the leg of the operator. It is completely sealed and waterproofed with a fixed gap of 3mm. Its use, among many others, was in life rafts where its small compact and waterproof elements came into their own although this assembly, with the switch, would have been used on a standard radio setup. The same style of key was used by the British Military in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s with the A13 and A14 man packs. The Australian army used a similar key made by AWA from 1970 to 1995 and a version was used with PRC64 spy radio set in USA.
British Military MK 128 Key circ 1950

This key, although looking German is definitely British, documented in Morsum Magnificat (MM) 44, page 48. It is noted as being used by the S.A.S. during the 1950’s and 60’s as part of the portable station MK 128 The transmitter was crystal controlled with an output of 1 watt RF, CW only covering 2-8 MHz It measures 160mm x 64mm and would have had a black plastic cover which on this example is missing. It is a very smooth, nicely made key with silver or platinum contacts.
Marconi hand key WT 10 AMP. No2 circ 1918.

This is an extremely rare key which was part of the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Set 120 Watt Mark 1 introduced in 1918. It was a set designed for use down to and including Divisional Headquarters level. It consists of a sending and receiving instruments wired up in a case with a roller desk front. In addition, secondary batteries, aerial and earth are required for operation. It had a frequency range of 450 – 8000 meters receive and 600 – 2200 meters transmit with a power output of 120 watt giving a range of 60 miles.

This model key, the No. 2, came from the early W.T. Set 120 watt mark 1 which was relatively short lived as by 1925 it had been superseded by the Mark 1* which would have a Key No. 1. There were distinct differences between the keys. The No. 2 key had twin contacts where the No. 1 was a single contact key. The reason for the second set of contacts was that with the earlier set a rotary converter is used, which converts D.C. at 22 volts into A.C. at about 35 volt 900 cycles, this is then transformed by a static transformer to about 1500 volt A.C. which may or may not be rectified to D.C. before use. In the manual for these sets there is a caution note stating that “In the Mk. 1 set the operating key is fitted with two auxiliary contacts in connection with the rectifier unit, which are at the high potential of the valves. The operators hand is protected from this H.T. by means of a circular shield fitted under the knob. It is essential that no metallic part of this key or of the rectifier unit should be touched whilst the rectifier unit is in operation, or severe shock will be received”.