Be sure to check this page from time to time since we continually add new items.
and if you don't see something you are interested in,
just ask... we may have it in stock "not yet listed."
You may notice "sold" instruments shown on our pages... One of our goals is to provide information to collectors, so even though a key or sounder has been sold we will often leave the description and photographs up if it was an interesting or unusual item or variation. We hope this helps your collecting specialty.
The contacts on hand keys and bugs may eventually become oxidized, and silver contacts should be cleaned with care. The Signal Corps TG-5 sets (-A and -B) came with a burnisher to be used to clean the contacts of the bell, jack, key and relay. Burnishers are available from various sources, but if you don't have one handy, the TG-5 manual (TM 11-351) recommends "a piece of smooth steel or a piece of unglazed [non-glossy] bond or other paper which will not leave lint on the contacts." A crisp, new dollar bill will also do a good job.
Treat contacts gently. Insert the burnisher (tool or paper) between the contacts, press the contacts together with only slight pressure, and withdraw the burnisher. Do this two or three times each for the dot and the dash contacts on a bug.
All items are subject to prior sale, so e-mail me before paying to check that what you are interested in is still available, to confirm shipping cost, or to ask questions. In the winter we may be out west in our trailer and might not have your item with us (although we can place a hold on an item to reserve it for you). Our email address is
We accept US payment by paypal.com (made to any of our email addresses), by money order, or by personal check with your shipping address imprinted on it. Foreign payment may be made by paypal or by international postal money order. If you pay by mail, let me know and I will hold your item for you.
Shipping costs are not cumulative. If you are interested in different items, I will provide shipping cost. Some small items will ship with a bug at no added cost. But others may be best shipped separately; for example, it is cheaper to ship a few knobs (first class mail) separate from a book (media mail) since knobs cannot be included with media mail.
Prices reflect my time and effort in acquiring these items, as well as their scarcity and condition. All instruments are used, original, complete and working, unless otherwise noted. None have been "restored" or polished, except where noted. I leave all such work to the preference of the buyer.
Don't be afraid to restore your instruments. Often a "restoration" can be accomplished with little more than a good cleaning -- sixty years of dust and atmospheric pollution can be washed away in a few minutes. To see what one buyer did to improve the look of his keys, see this page.
On this page, below, we show:
Spare parts, small parts such as springs, paddles, terminal nuts, etc.
Cord-and-wedges for "plugging in" your bug to a hand key.
"Other" Bugs, paddles, Electronic Keyers and Miscellaneous telegraph instruments.
Landline and railroad telegraph instruments. Everything telegraphic other than single keys.
This page includes sounders, relays, resonators, signs, call boxes, KOB key/sounder sets, etc. (Note, hand keys are on a separate page, keep reading...)
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Hand Keys (also called Straight Keys) and sideswipers. Landline, spark wireless and radio hand keys.
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Note, McElroy and Military hand keys will be found on their respective pages (links below).
McElroy keys and telegraph apparatus including Mac-Key bugs, McElroy hand keys, and code tape equipment (punched Wheatstone and ink slip).
Also Telegraph Apparatus Company (TAC) instruments.
For information on McElroy and all of the McElroy keys, click here.
To open our page of McElroy instruments for sale, Click here.
Vibroplex Keys and Accessories.
Click here to see vintage Vibroplex keys for sale.
Code Practice Instruments and Training Devices,
including U.S. military technical manuals on Signal Corps code practice equipment.
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U.S. Signal Corps J-38 keys.
This page includes complete information on the J-38 variations, as well as a list of the keys for sale. Click here to open this window.
Other U.S. Military Keys and communications apparatus.
Army Signal Corps hand keys and J-36 bugs, Navy and Maritime keys, field and shipboard instruments, etc.
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Railroad instruments and books.
Such items as RR-marked telegraph keys, scissors-extension telephones, jack boxes, rule books and RR-related books.
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Foreign Keys, military and civilian.
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Paper and ephemera relating to telegraphy, wireless and radio.
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Ordering Add $2.50 for USA shipping of any quantity, any mix, of these small parts. NO extra charge if ordered with a key. Please email us before paying so that we can check our inventory.
See what others have to say about using these parts.
New-old-stock Bakelite knobs as used on the Electric Specialty bugs in the 1930s. These will fit almost all new and old hand keys, bugs and paddles: Bunnell, McElroy, Vibroplex, railroad and Western Union keys, military Signal Corps J-38, etc. The top surface is 1-1/8 inches in diameter, and have an 8-32 threaded brass female insert. They attach to the key lever with a short screw or stud (grub screw); this photo shows a screw holding the knob (you supply the screw).
$3.00 each plus shipping
Lionel/Bunnell J-36 paddles
At right in the photo are original new-old-stock paddles used on the Signal Corps Lionel and Bunnell J-36 bugs in the 1940s. This is the scarce, authentic paddle for those keys. The correct paddle can double the value of your J-36.
While this paddle was not used on the Vibroplex J-36, they have one #4 untapped hole and an 8-32 tapped hole and will fit perfectly on almost all Vibroplex bugs using the original Vibroplex screws. And one restorer used one of these paddles on a Speed-X model 500 bug using #4 and #6 screws and nuts, without having to modify the paddle. However, to use these on some other bugs you may have to enlarge the small hole, and Bakelite is difficult to drill. We recommend the ES paddle (below) for such bugs.
$12.00 each plus shipping, very few left
In the center of the above photo, and at right, are the new-old-stock die-cut phenolic paddles used on the Electric Specialty bugs in the 1930s. They can be used as is, or they can be filed or ground to your preferred shape. The material and thickness is about the same as the old style (pre-WWII) Vibroplex paddles, and this can be shaped easily on a stone grinding wheel to make an almost exact replacement for those bugs.
The paddle on the left is our part #ES1; it has a matte finish and a #8 (about 5/32") untapped hole. ES1 would be the better choice of these two for standard hardware. The paddle on the right is our #ES2; it has a shiny finish and a larger, 1/4" hole.
ES1, $1.00 each ... ES2, two for $1.00 ... plus shipping
Hand key circuit closer knobs
These black plastic knobs are shorter than the old-time circuit closer knobs. They look like (perhaps are identical to) the short knob used on the "modern" Bunnell sideswiper key offered in the 1960s. These knobs are 1/2" high and 1/2" diameter. They have a brass 8-32 thread insert, and so will attach to most vintage American hand key circuit closer (shorting) levers with an 8-32 screw or stud (not included).
$2.00 each plus shipping
Hand key springs.
Conical springs for your straight (hand) telegraph keys, made by a commercial manufacturer. The model spring was an ARH J-38 spring, since this size and style fit many other keys. The base (large end) is just over 1/4 inch diameter (0.270" spec.) and the free height is about 1/2 inch. These springs fit well and work fine on most Bunnell, Signal Electric, McElroy, Speed-X, all Signal Corps J-38 makes, and many other hand keys.
If you find the tension (pressure) is a little high when installed on your key, just clip one or two turns off with wire cutters. They are of a uniform size and consistent tension, unlike hand-wound springs. However, they may not be approprate for those hand keys that require "pigtail" springs that are supported in a small hole in the key frame (but see below).
$2.00 each plus shipping
The photos below show a grubscrew (setscrew) with the knob, and the second photo shows the improved appearance when one is used instead of a regular screw. (8-32 thread grubscrew is not provided, your hardware store has them.) The third and fourth photos show how I made a pigtail spring from one of our conical springs. This is shown on a Western Union 2A legless key. I bent the bottom of the spring out, up, and horizontal using two pliers (one flat-nosed and one needle-nosed pair).
McElroy Chart of Codes and Signals. Click on the photo for a larger view.
Ted McElroy, world champion telegrapher during the 1920s and 30s, created his famous Chart of Codes in 1943. It was printed on a cloth backing and measured 25 by 38 inches.
The chart contains codes in five languages (including Greek, Russian, Japanese Kata Kana), Continental and Morse, Q and Z signals, etc. When first presented at the February 1943 Veteran Wireless Operators of America (VWOA) meet, the Secretary declared it to be "the most complete and authoritative work of its kind that has ever been published."
The chart we offer is a copy of the near-mint chart from our personal collection, professionally reproduced in high resolution on a heavy canvas backed poster. Our chart is actually 50% heavier than the original, and is identical to the original in size and appearance.
At over 2 x 3 feet, this is a great display item for the telegraph instrument collector or amateur radio operator.
$125.00 (USA S&H = $9.00 / due to size foreign shipping must be priority mail, inquire for rate)
Small McElroy chart
As above, but smaller 11 x 17 inch size, printed in full color on heavy paper card stock. Just right to pin to your wall or suitable for framing. Makes a geat gift to a key collector or amateur radio Morse code (CW) operator.
$7.95 (plus shipping = USA S&H $3.00, Canada $3.50, other foreign $6.50)
For more McElroy items for sale, see this page.
The cord-and-wedge was used by railroad and Western Union telegraphers years ago to connect their personal bug to the company hand key on the operating table. The wedge end would be slipped between the base and connector strip of the hand key. Some had no name on them, while others had a brand stamped on the brass wedge leafs.
we sometime have vintage name-stamped cord and wedges (stamped on one or both brass leafs). A Vibroplex-marked cord and wedge will be on the Vibroplex page; a Bunnell or Lionel J-36 cord and wedge will be on the "other U.S. military keys" page; a McElroy cord and wedge will be on the McElroy page. Those unmarked, or marked with other brands, will appear immediately below.
Ordering: Add $3.50 for USA shipping of any cord-and-wedge. NO extra charge if ordered with a key.
#CWWU3 A Western Union Telegraph Company cord and wedge, marked W.U.TEL.CO. on one leaf. This has a red ferrule and an original black 24" cloth cord. The cord is in poor cosmetic condition but continuity tests OK.
#CWWU4 A Western Union Telegraph Company cord and wedge, marked W.U.TEL.CO. on one leaf. This has a red ferrule and plain 12" wires (possibly an old replacement). Continuity tests OK.
Two cord-and-wedges with black ferrule and brown cloth cord. They are unmarked. These are in very good used condition.
At top, #CWN8.
#CWN22 This cord-and-wedge has a tan cloth cord and a red ferrule. It is unmarked. Used, checked, OK.
These cases are similar to the Vibroplex bug cases (which appear on the Vibroplex page), but they were made for and used with the Martin Research and Manufacturing Flash Keys and the Bunnell-Martin Flash Keys (Original and Lightning Bug clones). They were also available for Bunnell's military bugs, the Bunnell Signal Corps J-36 and the Bunnell Navy bugs (both variations). They are scarcer than, and differ slightly from, the Vibroplex cases. The most obvious difference is the cover latch, which does not lock.
#0231 Martin Research - Bunnell bug case.
Very good condition. Looks like it has had some black touch-up around the hinges; two corners are scuffed to the wood. The handle and interior are very good.
Shipping in the USA is $12.00 for bugs, $7.00 for hand keys, and $10.00 for sounders, unless otherwise stated.
On recent additions to our list below, you can click on the image for a larger view.
#N405TRY Unknown make bug.
I call this my "bat key" due to the shape of the upper pivot plate. The base is cast iron and measures 2-1/2 x 6-1/4 inches. The four pivot uprights are part of the casting, as is a raised rib that runs the length of the key. This bug is heavy, weighing a full four pounds.
Only three or four of these rare keys are known. It is thought the maker was in Canada, as at least two of them were found there. This is complete as found; the wire terminal nuts do not match, but everything else appears to be original. An interesting and unusual bug for your collection or operating desk.
#590BLG Bunnell-Martin Flash Key.
In the late 1930s the sons of Horace Martin made "Flash Keys," which were copies of Vibroplex models. Soon thereafter, in the early 1940s, Bunnell acquired the rights to make them. This is the Bunnell-Martin type 5-48, based on the Vibroplex Original. Note the "Packard grille" shape of the pivot frame -- a Bunnell design feature (seen also on the Bunnell J-36).
This bug has been in my personal collection for over twenty years. It is in excellent condition; the black crackle base finish is like new. A previous owner has scratched his initials on the nameplate, and lightly on the bottom. Old call letters also appear on the bottom, together with a red stamp ("C1"?). A scarce addition to any vintage bug collection.
#306DOY Bencher paddle with MFJ Electronic Keyer.
The MFJ model 422B-X electronic keyer mounted on a Bencher iambic paddle. Very good used condition. Uses a 9 volt battery; the one inside has just enough power to show that this works, and you should replace it.
Scrape in the finish on the right side. Includes paddle adjusting allen wrench.
Back and side.
#H131 Hamco Trinidad iambic paddle.
The unique rocker-pin design of the FYO paddle made by Joe Hills in the early 1960s was followed by those made by HAL, Teletek, and today, Bencher. But Hamco in 1978 was the first to incorporate magnetic tensioning. Hamco was soon bought by Vibroplex which renamed the paddle Brass Racer.
The Hamco paddles have a thick triangular brass plate on a (maple?) wood base, and a 32-inch cable with a 1/4-inch stereo plug. They also have a lever retaining screw so they won't "fly apart" like the original FYO and Bencher paddles. A small allen wrench (not included) is used to adjust the magnets and contacts. The Hamco was offered in three variations: The plain Scotia, the Trinidad with its engine-turned brass plate, and the hand-polished Carson. (The Scotia is often mistaken for a Vibroplex Brass Racer; collectors should check the foil nameplate on the bottom.)
Offered here is the rare and beautiful Trinidad. It is in excellent condition. Bottom.
#HAL707 HAL iambic paddle.
The unique rocker-pin design of the FYO paddle made by Joe Hills in the early 1960s was followed by the iambic incarnation made by HAL Communications. HAL called it, appropriately, the FYO. They made it for only two years, 1975 and 1976, then sold their inventory, rights and tooling to Hamco.
This is a heavy paddle; the cast steel base is almost 7/8 inch thick, and it weighs over 2-1/4 pounds. The four-foot cable terminates in a 1/4" stereo plug.
The HAL FYO is rare. The one offered here is in excellent, original condition. Another view.
#H1007BEL ... HAL keyer.
A rare HAL model 1550 keyer. This one is serial number 443. If you have a HAL paddle, this would be a great item to accompany it.
Excellent cosmetic condition. The NO/NC switch on the back does not work (can't flip it; cheap switches). Electrically untested. No manual. Another view.
#L906CPP Logan Speed-X 510 bug.
Speed-X model 510 by the Les Logan Company. Small 2.75 x 6 inch base. This has the original "bulls-eye" paddles and the box. This dates from the early 1940s, preceeding the acquisition of the Speed-X line by the E. F. Johnson Company in 1947. The nameplate is good, showing light oxidation; the base finish is chipped around the mounting holes and on the right side. The box (complete with the original bug hold-down shipping screws) is split across the top center, and is worn around the edges. Right side.
#L806CLE Leach "Speedoplex" bug.
Bug made by the Leach Relay Company of San Francisco. This is a "Speedoplex No. 2" with a couple of differences from the usual model: the damper style (hinged at the back), and the transverse nameplate holes (most with plates are longitudinal). The glossy finish is in very good condition for a c. 1930 bug, with a few small chips. The knob is chipped, and the broken paddle was repaired with epoxy. No plate, one weight.
Also see the last page of this flyer.
#L806TRG Leach "Speedoplex" bug.
Bug made by the Leach Relay Company of San Francisco. This is a "Speedoplex No. 2" made c. 1930 with a few differences from the usual No. 2: the damper style (hinged at the back), and the transverse nameplate holes (most with plates are longitudinal), and the double paddles (yes, they are original Leach paddles). The base finish resembles the scarce "leatherette" finish found on some Vibroplex bugs from around 1920. Oddly, the weights and their screws are unplated (though apparently original items). Complete except for nameplate.
Also see the last page of this flyer.
#238 Feather Touch Key.
This is an early 1970s capacity-operated paddle with built-in keyer, made by Data Engineering Inc. There were a few variations, distinguished by the button switches on top; this one has two. I have not used or tested this unit and do not have the instructions, so I don't know their purpose, or if it works. It has an AC line cord and a built-in power supply, and a rotary (on-off?) switch on the back, and a five-prong plug. Cosmetically very good; tape residue on sides and a few small scratches on the left side. Scarce; this unit is serial number A0150.
$95.00. (S&H = $9.00)
#026 Bencher iambic paddle.
Early Bencher two-lever iambic paddle. This does not have the screws holding the paddles captive (which were added later), which means that they can bounce off the pivot pins with hard use, but also seems to provide a lighter, smoother feel than later paddles. No allen wrench included (don't know if they supplied one this early). This has RCA phono connectors; I believe Radio Shack has the adapter if you need a 1/4" plug output. Nice paddle for the CW operator or Bencher collector, in excellent condition.
#835 Hallicrafters TO keyer.
Here is the famous Hallicrafters HA-1 "TO Keyer," designed by Jim Ricks, W9TO (SK), founder of the high speed CW group "CFO." This 1960's tube keyer uses 12AU7 flip-flops; the mercury relay makes it ideal for keying older transmitters. Excellent cosmetic condition, complete and original, operationally untested. Includes original operating and service manual with schematic (loose, call and address stamped on cover, writing inside cover and on back of schematic).
#904LTY Go-Devil bug.
This is the scarce 1930s Go-Devil bug, by A.H. Emery of Poughkeepsie, New York. This one is original and appears to be complete, but is sold "as shown" since I could never get one of these to work properly and I consider them to be collectible "display shelf" keys.
$495.00. (S&H = $12.00 UPS)
#443CGYY Bunnell Gold Bug.
Here is an unusual, scarce and collectible bug. This has a single lever with adjustable swivel, and a single contact for dots and dashes. It wasn't very successful when produced in the late 1920's for the simple reason that it didn't work very well. The paddle on this one is not original (although it is the correct shape), and the key would benefit from cleaning and polishing. Second photo.)
$695.00 (S&H = $12.00)
#0405ERE Electric Specialty bug with case.
The only bug that was sold (in the 1930s) as a kit, and one of the few that has a cast base. The massive base measures 3 x 7-1/2 inches, and has its name cast in the bottom of the base (see this photo.) This bug is original and in excellent condition. It has one weight, but is otherwise complete (I may be able to supply another original weight). Also included is the scarce, original steel carrying case.
The case is very good but has some finish missing (and resulting surface rust) on the back. The label in the case is scratched at the bottom, probably from the bug paddle. A scarce find. A copy of the fyer on the bug will be included. The bug. Back of case.
#228 ... El-Key paddle.
Here's an important paddle in the history of amateur radio telegraphy. The El-Key single lever paddle was the First commercial paddle offered to ham radio operators. They were made by R.E. Poucel W2AYJ and Sid Shore K2FC doing business as Poucel Electronics, a division of Shore Mfg. Co., of Long Island NY, starting in 1959. Today they are very difficult to find. This one is all original, including the El-Key nameplate. There are some chips in the finish around the edges, and a few scratches on the top surface of the base. Second photo
$195.00 (S&H = $12.00)
#236 Duomatic model AKS-7 keyer.
This rare old keyer incorporates vacuum tubes, relays and a paddle. It is one of the earliest commercial keyers, dating from around 1950. Interestingly, the paddle uses a Speed-X bug frame (it has the Speed-X bulls-eye paddles on the lever). This is offered as-found: Dirty, it appears to have some electrical modification, and small parts may be missing or added. Second photo
$195. (S&H = $15.00)
#508BGY Mon-Key electronic keyer.
The Mon-Key vacuum tube keyer with built-in paddle was manufactured by the Electric Eye Equipment Company of Illinois. It was initially advertised in 1948, thereby becoming the first electronic keyer offered to hams. It is built on a thick Bakelite base, and has a cast aluminum cover. Overall it measures 11" long and 4-1/2" deep.
This particular unit is complete including the tubes, but untested (I believe the AC cord is a resistance cord, and there is no transformer in the power supply, and that the key terminals under the plastic cover are hot with AC, so be careful when testing and using.) The clear plastic key cover is in very good condition (most have cracks around the screw, this one does not) and it has the original knob and paddle. It even has remnants of the rare decal on the side (see photo). Display a piece of history on your shelf!
Another view. ... Decal. ... Inside.
$245.00 (S&H = $15.)
#098BLL oval base telephone.
This is the pretty art deco oval-base telephone desk set by Western Electric. This is the model 202, and was produced from 1930 to 1938. It has the D1 base and E1 handset.
This phone is in excellent original cosmetic condition. I do not have the ringer box, so could not test it.
#099TYY Autronic keyer paddle.
This paddle was produced by Electrophysics Corp from 1960 to 1970. See July 1960 QST, page 47, and U.S. patent 3,098,896. It is a single-lever paddle (non-iambic) with a heavy cast base and an unusual bent lever design. Cast-base paddles are uncommon, and this may be the only make with its name cast in.
There are minor variations of the Autronic: The cast address, Newport Beach, 1960 - 65, and Cost Mesa, 1965 - 1970; knurled lock nuts (1960 - 1963) and conical lock nuts (1963 - 1970). I have also found a Costa Mesa key with a black base finish rather than the usual gray finish. The paddle shown here is a "later early" (1963 - 65) model: It has the early Newport Beach address and the later conical jam nuts.
This is in good condition with a cord and small plug. There is a small discolored area on top, near the "C" in the name, and some chipping of the finish on the bottom; see the photos. I will include with this key a vintage copy of The Vail Correspondent #7 (April 1994) which has a five page article on this key, including patent drawings.
$149.00 (S&H = $12.00)
#TWX33 ... Model 33.
For sale is a Western Union TWX model 33 teletypewriter (this unit has a keyboard and tape perforator). It is complete, original, and in excellent cosmetic condition, with manuals and a spares kit. I have not used or tested it. Photos on request.
$1,200. -- pick up in Stow Mass.
#TWXTAPE ... Model 33 perforator tape.
This paper tape is made by or for Western Union for the TWX model 33 data terminal; may fit other teletype machines. This is a NOS unused roll of 1" width oiled paper tape, with 2" core diameter and 8" maximum diameter of roll, approximately 1,000 feet per roll.
$10.00 per roll (we have 5 rolls available). Email quantity desired and your zip code and I will let you know the shipping charge.
Wanted by Tom French, McElroy telegraph apparatus. Will purchase for cash or trade.
1934 McElroy bug (first model)
An early (1934 - 36) left-handed McElroy bug (cast as left handed).
McElroy Junior model (sheet metal bug).
McElroy code oscillator with two tubes and a light bulb ballast.
To upgrade my collection, any instrument in excellent to mint condition, especially in the original box and with papers.
Artifax Books carries technical and reference books on keys, telegraphy, wireless radio and more.
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