This page updated March 2014
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. Our email address is
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Shipping costs are not cumulative, they are usually lower. If you are interested in different items, I will provide shipping cost. Some small items will often ship with a large item 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 including knobs with a book may (due to the weight) mean the package must go by priority mail.
Instruments and apparatus on this page are listed as follows:
-- Key-on-base (KOB) combination sets
-- Sounders, repeaters, transmitters
-- Call boxes and Gill selectors
-- Switchboards and lightning arresters
-- Miscellaneous (meters, signs, registers, typewriters, etc)
Most instruments shown here have been electrically are tested and are guaranteed to work if used at the recommended voltage. A few instruments may not have passed my brief electrical check and if so are offered "as is" at a reduced price. I do not clean them, since some users will prefer the patina of age, while others will want to polish the brass and wood. I leave the choice to the buyer.
On most photos, you can click on the small photo for a larger version (as well as clicking on the links to the second, third photos etc).
Relay Springs. These universal relay springs are 1-1/2 inches long (excluding the pigtails) and are made of fine wire with light tension. They work well with the larger main line relays, box relays, and Barclay relays. As is, they are too long for pony (small) relays. Of course they can be shortened, and if their tension is too high they can be stretched to reduce it. You can use them as is with fixed tension, or tie a thread to one end to be wound by the relay windlass for adjusting tension.
Spring on a relay.
Electrically, there are two basic types of KOB sets: Professional sets (i.e. those which might have been used by a telegraph operator) and practice sets. Professional sets will have a high resistance (e.g. 150 ohms, though sometimes as low as 20 ohms) and two wire terminals. Practice sets will be of low resistance (e.g. 4 ohms); they may have two or three wire terminals. Regardless of the resistance, those with three terminals are always practice sets.
Regardless of whether a KOB set is "professonal" or "practice," either type may be used for practice, with the proper voltage batteries, and either two-terminal set would look authentic in a telegraph system display.
#214KTG Bunnell KOB set.
This Morse learner's outfit dates to the early 1900s. It is marked on the sounder lever with the maker's name, J.H. Bunnell & Co., New York USA. The 7-1/2 x 5 inch wood base is stamped "5 ohms."
One paper coil wrap is missing, and the key knob is a replacement. This is tested and works well on 3 volts DC.
#1105LYY Tillotson private line set.
Private line sets were used in homes and offices in the 19th century. Suitable in design for their environment, they have a fancy, cast iron base and elegant design. All are scarce. The one offered here is marked "L.G. Tillotson & Co., New York" and dates from about 1870. Note the heavy brass straight lever on the key, and the unusual sounder construction. The cols have Bakelite covers.
One screw holding the stop standard to the left side of the sounder appears to be a replacement. There is some paint loss and light surface rust at the left side and back edge, but the name and most of the fancy decoration remains intact. This is a beautiful display piece ("an office credenza item," as one collector has said of such instruments). Tested and works (use 3 to 6 volts).
#0110LEY Bunnell lineman's set in case.
These pocket sets are scarce - and it's rare to find one in its original carrying case. This has the Bunnell name on it; in its 1915 catalog they referred to it as a "pocket relay." This was offered with either 150 or 250 ohm coils (this one is 150 ohms, and the coils test good).
There is a nut missing underneath on the lever spring cup screw (brass nuts are available at your hardware store). The case latch works; the covering is showing its age and the previous owner apparently made a hole in one end of the case for the wires so he wouldn't have to remove the set from the case while using it.
out of box.
Back of case
#208OGR Bunnell miniature KOB.
A few years ago the Bunnell Company produced a limited edition of its "centennial issue" miniature telegraph keys, sounders and KOBs. They were a reproduction of its miniature instruments made in the early 1900s.
Here is one of the little KOB sets. The base measures just 1-1/8 x 2-1/2 inches. This is a real working instrument. The sounder is 150 ohms, and works on 9 volts maximum (I tested this on on 6 volts, which I recommend). Its two-digit serial number can be seen on the sounder (the key SN is on the bottom of the key).
This comes complete with its original velvet pouch, certificate of authenticity, and information sheet. Another view.
#904TRO P.O. & G. Co. lineman's set. This is commonly called a lineman's pocket set. This instrument is marked Western Electric Co. on the key lever. The cover, coil and knob are stamped PO&GCo which is thought to be Pacific Oil and Gas Company; this is likely, as I aquired it out of California. Such sets date from the late 1800s; they are scarce and a fine addition to any telegraph collection. This one is especially desireable with the PO&G provenance. This is in good condition: the coils are good and there is only one tiny chip in the cover edge (photo 3). The sounder return spring is missing, and the small screw that holds the key gap anvil is missing; both parts are hardware store items.
#209TOR Partrick and Carter KOB set.
An early, rare and highly collectible key/sounder combination set on a wood base. Most parts of the key and the sounder are cast iron. The circuit closer on the step-lever key is stamped with the maker's name. Decoratively painted on the base of the horizontal-spring sounder is the 1875 patent date (hard to read).
The sounder spring and tension screw were missing; what you see is my jury-rigged replacement. (A long, thin light spring -- as from an old typewriter -- would be a better replacement.) The two wire terminals are a different style from the usual P&C terminals I have seen so may be vintage replacements. There is a crack in the wood base (you can see it in the photos) but it is tight (perhaps an old repair). Finally one coil wire is overly long (shown), you may wish to dress it for appearance.
This is offered as shown. Tested and working on 3 - 4 volts DC. Despite its minor issues it would be an impressive instrument for your working landline display.
Name on circuit closer.
Decoration on sounder.
#1004BOR ... Vintage Bunnell KOB base
This is the wood base from a Bunnell KOB set which had a key and a Barclay type sounder -- similar to this one.
This base includes the wire terminals and the brass name tag. The base measures about 9-3/4 x 4-5/8 inches. It is in good condition with no chips, splits or cracks. You may want to refinish the top or leave the beautiful aged patina.
This is a nice spare part for the restorer or collector of antique railroad telegraph instruments.
#913CBG ... Early C. Williams Jr. KOB base
This is an original wood base for a Charles Williams Jr. KOB set. It is 5-1/2 x 7-1/2 inches and includes the brass cone feet on the bottom. This base is for the early Williams KOB set with the camelback key, like this one.
A little history: The electrical shop of Charles Williams Jr. was at 109 Court Street in Boston, beginning in 1856. It was in the attic of his shop that Bell, with the help of Williams' mechanic Thomas Watson, created the first practical telephone.
This base is in very good used condition, with no chips, splits or cracks, although the top does need refinishing. If you have an early Williams KOB like the one referenced but with a bad base, here is an original which has much more value than a home-made reproduction.
Warning: On box relays such as those below, there is a large adjusting nut on the box which moves the magnets closer to, or away from, the relay armature. Backing this nut out should allow the magnets to move closer to the armature (and turning it in should move the magnet poles away from the armature). But if this nut has become stiff or stuck on the adjusting screw, backing it out might cause the adjusting screw itself to turn counter-clockwise and unscrew from the magnet assembly inside the box. This would cause the magnet assembly to fall inside the box, and you would have to dis-assemble the box to repair it.
You will not have a problem if you pay attention and are careful. But if this happens to your box relay, open it up and re-attach the magnet assembly to the screw. Here's how: Remove the far ends of the three wires which come out of the box from the base (you may have to remove two wire terminals to do this). Straighten the three wires perpendicular to the base. Below the box, remove two machine screws (which fasten the adjusting screw holder) and two small wood screws (which hold the box to the base).
The box is now loose; push the three wires up through their base holes as you raise the box from the base, being careful not to disconnect two of the three heavy wires from the fine magnet wires they connect to. Now repair: Loosen the adjusting nut on the screw and apply a drop of oil to it (Kriol recommended). Put the adjusting screw pressure spring back on, and when you re-attach the adjusting screw to the magnet assembly, use a drop of Loktite. Reverse the procedure to re-assemble. (These details pertain to most Bunnell box relays; yours may be slightly different.)
We do not accept return of box relays or Barclay sounders which have been mis-adjusted by the purchaser to cause the magnet assembly to separate from the adjusting screw.
#401BCF Western Electric box relay KOB.
A doubly scarce collectible: First, it's a Western Electric box relay KOB. Second, it has the rare twin-lever key with elliptical base. The key is stamped "pat'd Dec. 5, 1893." Beneath the key lever pivot is a bar connecting the two base pivot pillars, a very unusual design for this hand key.
It is in excellent cosmetic condition. I found no continuity on the coil wires; it could be repaired though that might involve opening the box. It is offered as a rare display item.
Barclay sounder warning: Since the adjustment on a Barclay sounder is similar to that of box relays, the warning given above for box relays should be observed for Barclay sounders.
#401BCE Bunnell "Barclay" type combination set.
This KOB set has a Barclay drum-type sounder, which has a brass box with one side of wood. This provides a more resonant sound that the ordinary sounder. This one is a 150 ohm main line unit.
Excellent condition with nice nameplate; possibly once restored in he past. It has an odd extra screw between the wire terminals, otherwise it is complete with all original parts. Tested and works on 6 volts, though the spring shouldl be adjusted forless tension.
#RAT108 Bunnell Barclay KOB.
Here is a Bunnell Barclay KOB set worthy of a little clean-up and restoration. The key is marked Bunnell, and there is a metal Bunnell name tag on the base marked with the coil resistance (150 ohms). The key is missing the circuit closing lever and a small nail is missing from one side of the name tag. The sounder spring should be replaced. The coils are good, tested and working (6 volts).
Read this page for information on using a sounder.
#208CEH gear-adjustment Bunnell sounder.
This sounder is marked made by J.H. Bunnell, New York. The wood base measures about 5-1/2 x 3 inches and is stamped 150 (ohms). It is a main line sounder for use directly in a Morse railroad or WU land line. The major parts are brass, the coil covers appear to be Bakelite.
It has an unusual gear-drive adjustment for the coils. The coils do not move... the gear drive slides the iron armature which is under the coils in and out, this varys the magnetic flux to the main lever armature. As the rack is moved, the movement of the lower sliding armature can just be seen in the 4th and 5th photos.
This is tested and works well on 4 to 6 volts DC. A scarce addition t your sounder collection.
Name on lever.
$95.00 (S&H = $9.85)
#B806CEA Bunnell sounder.
This is an early aluminum lever sounder made by Bunnell (and so stamped on the lever). It has an aluminum resonator plate under the wood base, and eraly-style wire terminals. There is a chip in one of the coil covers as seen in the photo.
The heavy patina on the metal parts makes this sounder a good choice for public display of an early system. This has been tested and works well on 4 - 6 volts DC, although you may have to clean the underside of the terminal thumbnuts a little for a good connection.
$89.00 (S&H = #9.85
#1212CEY Western Union 1-A / Bunnell sounder.
Made by the J.H. Bunnell Company, this has the Western Union nameplate identifying it as a type 1-A sounder. The resonator plate shows the May 17 1895 patent date. It has been through the WU New York Repair Shop and came out with the usual black painted wood base, cadmium plated brass parts, and NYRS stamp on the bottom.
Tested on 3 VDC.
The Western Union model 1-B sounder is interesting in that the coil wires are brought out to separate terminals: There are four terminals on the wood base. The nameplate describes it as 400 ohms; that is true if the 200 ohm coils are wired in series. They can also be wired in parallel to create a 100 ohm sounder. It is most common to find the 1-B with the coils wired in parallel.
#548-400-OHMS Western Union 1-B / Bunnell sounder.
The metal nameplate is stamped 1B-400 and the aluminum lever is stamped with the Bunnell name. It has the typical Western Union black painted wood base and cadmium plated brass parts. This is in excellent condition. I wired the coils in parallel (100 ohms); it works fine on 4 to 6 volts DC.
Western Union 15-B main line sounders:
The 15-B is one of the "standard" Western Union main line sounders. It is a large sounder that has the armature (lever cross-bar) and coil pole pieces oriented at an angle. There is no downward stop screw on the main lever; the adjuster lever on the resonator plate moves the coils in and out horizontally and provides a convenient adjustment for the spacing of the bar and pole pieces. Bunnell described the gap adjustment as "instant magnetic gap adjustment by means of an easily operated lever which moves coil assembly in a horizontal plane." The base is wood and the the metal parts (except for the spring and magnetic circuit components) are brass.
The 15-B came in different resistances and, since the higher resistance units operated at lower current, it was preferable to use those whenever the nature of the line or circuit permitted. A 1929 Western Union booklet describes the 120 ohm sounder as having a normal operating current of 40 ma, and the 30 ohm sounder requiring 70 ma. Many of these WUTCO sounders were made by Western Electric.
Other companies also made the 15-B, such as Bunnell and Foote-Pierson, and their specifications may vary. For example, Bunnell offered three different 15-B sounders; a 1950s Bunnell catalog described them as: 150 ohms, 40 ma; 120 ohms, 45 ma; and 30 ohms, 90 ma.
Using batteries or a DC power supply, you would power these (and any other sounders) with the voltage that would properly operate the unit. For example, the Western Electric 120 ohm sounder should operate fine on a voltage of IxR or 0.040 x 120 = 4.8 volts (nominal 5 volts). I have found that typical 120 ohm units operate best at 5 to 6 volts (depending, of course, on the adjustments of the pivots, spring tension and magnetic gap).
I have found that most W.E. 30 ohm sounders, stated to work at 70 ma (2.1 volts), work better at a higher voltage, and in fact work well at 3 to 6 volts. As with all sounders, use yours on the lowest voltage that allows it to operate well. However, if you don't have an adjustable power supply, the use of 2 D cells in series, or a 6 volt lantern battery, is usually convenient for a 120 ohm main line sounder.
The bottom of the 15-B sounder has a wooden mounting spacer or "donut" at the screw hole on each end of the wood base, and two pointed brass feet at the wire terminal end. Due to shrinkage of the wood, one or both of the donuts are often missing, but this does not affect the mounting or operation of the sounder.
The coil covers are painted brass. You will occasionally find one with polished brass covers, undoubtedly done by someone during a restoration process. While not period-correct, it does make the sounder an impressive display piece.
#1000BCB Bunnell 15-B 120 ohm sounder.
This main line sounder was made by (and marked on the lever) J.H. Bunnell. The resonator plate is marked "Patented in U.S.A. March 6 1917." The top of the wood base is stamped "W.U. TEL. CO. main line sounder 15-B 120 ohms."
The bottom of the wood base carries a Western Union inspection stamp (as well as a the stamp of a previous owner, who may have rewired the terminals and varnished the base). The wood "donuts" are missing, and three small black feet have been added. This sounder was tested and works well on 6 volts.
Resonator plate patent stamp.
#1212BBC Bunnell 15-B 150 ohm sounder.
This main line sounder was made by (and marked on the lever) J.H. Bunnell. The coil covers are painted brass (this makes it a good candidate for stripping and polishing if you are so inclined). This is in very nice original condition. Tested on 6 VDC.
$85.00 (S&H = $12.00)
#114BLY Western Electric 15-B 30 ohm sounder.
Marked on the lever Western Electric, and stamped 30 ohms on the wood base. This has been through the WU New York Repair Shop (NYRS) and like all keys and sounders that come out of the shop, the base is painted black and the brass parts have a cadmium plating. However the base finish is worn and chipped, and the cad plating is oxidized. Nevertheless it works is tested and works well on 6 volts DC.
$70.00 (S&H = $12.00)
#604BLY Western Electric 15-B 120 ohm sounder.
Marked on the lever Western Electric, and Western Union on the metal 15-B nameplate. This has been through the WU New York Repair Shop (NYRS) and like all keys and sounders that come out of the shop, the base is painted black and the brass parts have a cadmium plating. Note the NYRS stamp on the bottom.
Needs cleaning. Tested on 6 volts and works well.
$80.00 (S&H = $12.00)
#1012CLT Western Electric 15-B 120 ohm sounder.
Marked on the lever Western Electric, and Western Union on the metal 15-B nameplate. The coil covers are brass. Another NYRS sounder with the stamp on the bottom, though it appears that a previous owner has polished most of the cad plating off of the brass parts.
It is missing one of the wood mounting "donuts" on the bottom, but this does not affect operation or even the actual mounting. Tested on 6 volts and works well.
$85.00 (S&H = $12.00)
The Western Union 17-A sounder is similar to the 15-B in that this main line sounder is found in both 120 and 30 ohm coil resistances. And like the 15-B, it has an unusual (but easy to use) gap adusting mechanism: The large knurled knob raises or lowers the coils with respect to the armature. And because the coils are moved, it has no lower lever stop screw. But unlike most other sounders, it has double resonator plates.
The 17-A is a large, heavy and impressive looking sounder: While typical local sounders weigh about 1-1/4 pounds and stand 3-1/2" high, the huge 17-A sounder weighs almost 2-1/2 pounds and stands 4-1/2" high. Like the 15-B, it has painted brass coil covers.
Any we have are listed below.
#612COE Western Union 17-A sounder. Click on photo for a larger view.
This large sounder was made by Hardwick Hindle Inc. as stamped on the lever; this maker is not commonly found. The wood base is stamped "WU TEL CO, main line sounder 17-A, 120 ohms." The wood base is black and the metal parts appear to be cad plated, suggesting it went through the WU New York Repair Shop, though it is not so stamped. Tested at 6 volts.
Western Electric 3B and 3C Sounders
The Western Electric 3B and 3C are smaller than the WU 15-B, and have the typical screw adjustments for both positions of the lever. This simple design, used on most sounders made since the 1870s, makes them a good choice to represent a sounder of almost any era. The 3B is a 20 ohm sounder and works on 3 volts DC; the 3C is a 140 ohm (main line) sounder and works well on 6 volts DC.
1213BTH Western Electric 3B sounder. Click on photo for a larger view.
This 20 ohm sounder is in excellent, probably unused, condition. Tested and works fine (3 volts DC).
#509CEE NOS Western Electric 3C sounder. Click on photo for a larger view.
This is a 140 ohm main line sounder in excellent, unused (new old stock) condition. It is rare to find any sounder in this condition. Tested and works fine (6 volts DC, 45 ma).
Bunnell 1875 Sounders
These are relatively small sounders -- the wood base measures about 3 x 5-1/2 inches. The brass resonator plate is stamped "patented Feb. 16, 1875" and the brass lever is stamped "J.H. Bunnell, New York." They have the early "push-spring" lever mechanism, a curved pivot frame, and early style wire terminals. An 1875 sounder is an economical substitute for an earlier (and rare) Civil War era sounder.
#205BLE Postal / Bunnell 1875 sounder. Click on photo for a larger view.
This 1875 sounder has large Postal wire terminals and the wood base is stamped "property of Postal Tel Co" (some letters missing due to a chip in the base). It shows age and use; both lever stop screws were missing and I put in the replacements. Seems to be 20 ohms. Tested and working at 3 volts, however there is poor contact between the coil wires and the terminals, this area need removal of oxidation.
Bunnell 1895 Sounders
A more "modern" style sounder (relatively speaking!) with the spring above the lever. The resonator plate carries a May 7, 1895 patent date. The spring tension adjustment screw is located on an extension of the upper frame (on later models the screw would be moved close to the center of the frame, and the extension removed).
#1013BTY Bunnell 1895 sounder
A nice sounder with the old-style wire terminals, this retains most of the original descriptive paper on the bottom of the base. Works well on 3 volts.
#214MTY Manhattan sounder
An early Manhattan Electrical Supply Company sounder (MESCO stamped on the brass lever) with the old-style wire terminals. This is stamped "5 ohms" on the woodbase. One coil cover has a large void. This sounder works well on 3 volts.
#105CRA Western Union 15C Ghegan sounder. Click on photo for a larger view.
Stamped on the side of the wood base is "100 ohm main line sounder 15C" and stamped near the wire terminals is "WUTELCO." Stamped into the brass plate is "Ghegan patent, uly 16 1901." the Bunnell name is stamped on the lever.
On this design, one of the adjustment knobs drops the main lever at the frame, the other controls spring tension. all parts, including the lever and coil covers, are brass; only the coil armatures are steel. An interesting and scarce sounder.
Cosmetically, this shows its age. Tested and working at 50 milliamperes (6 volts).
#908COL Manhattan giant 20 ohm sounder. Click on photo for a larger view.
A large sounder from the Manhattan Electrical Supply Company. This rare model (I have only found two in twenty years) has an unusual pivoting frame mechanism for quickly adjusting the armature gap. (It drops the main lever at the frame, somewhat like a 15-C Ghegan sounder.) This is a 20 ohm sounder with the early style wire terminals.
Very clean looking; the brass has very light patina. Tested and working; use 3 to 3-1/2 volts.
Size compared to a typical small sounder.
#x07 tubular frame sounder.
No markings but this is the Western Electric style tubular frame sounder. Old style, fancy wood base measures 3-1/8 x 5-1/2 inches. Large wire terminals, heavy cast brass resonator base plate. 4 ohms.
$115. (S&H = $10.00)
#508TPO Bunnell Atkinson transmitter. Click on photo for a larger view.
Bunnell describes this transmitter as the "shovel nose pattern." I understand it is a circuit-preserving transmitter used in an Atkinson single line repeater system.
This is marked with the maker's name, J.H. Bunnell, on the sounder lever. It is in beautiful new old stock condition. Tested on 6 volts and works, however the coils appear to be 4 ohms so it should normally be operated at a lower voltage.
Telegraph relays use a small spring holding the armature, connected with thread to the adjuster. If yours is missing, click here to see the hook-up.
Main line relays typically have 150 ohm coils. The coils are in the main telegraph line in series with the station key, and the contacts control the local circuit. The local circuit consists of a series loop of the relay contacts, a battery (typically a 1.5 volt gravity cell), and a low-resistance sounder.
#913COY Bunnell relay.
Early Bunnell Pattern "Standard No. 1 Relay" also referred to as a "spectacle relay" for the way the coils protrude through the frame. This large relay has a slate over cast iron base, and measures about 5 x 8-1/4 inches. This main line relay is 150 ohms, has been tested and works.
An excellent choice of style for your railroad depot operator's table. One coil cover has a large chip missing but it is turned so as not to be noticable. The spring is a replacement, otherwise this is complete and original. Needs dusting.
#811BGT SEMCO main line relay.
Gooseneck relay (Standard No. 2 type, as adopted by Western Union and Postal Telegraph Companies), in good used condition showing some wear. The coils are tested (6 VDC, 40 ma) and working. The spring is a replacement.
#1004BLO Bunnell main line relay.
A 150 ohm "Type 2-3" relay made by J.H. Bunnell & Company of New York. The wood over iron base measures about 5 x 8 inches. The maker's name, model and relay resistance are on a metal nameplate. This has the newer style (single post) spring tensioner and screw-type wire terminals.
There is a light Navy anchor stamp on the bottom. This relay is in excellent, unused, new-old-stock condition. The coils are tested (6 VDC, 40 ma) and working.
#1212CLA Bunnell main line relay.
A 150 ohm "Type 2-3" relay made by J.H. Bunnell & Company of New York. The wood over iron base measures about 5 x 8 inches. The maker's name, model and relay resistance are on a metal nameplate. This has the newer style (single post) spring tensioner and screw-type wire terminals.
This relay is in excellent, unused, new-old-stock condition. The operation was tested at 6 VDC and is working.
A call box (shown at right) was mounted on the wall of a business office. When the businessman wanted a Western Union (or Postal Telegraph) boy to come pick up a message to be sent by telegram, he'd turn and release the crank on his call box. This would generate a series of pulses (usually a two or three digit code).
At the telegraph office, many selectors (Gill selectors, see below) were connected to the wire. A selector is like a relay with a gear escapement matched to a certain series of pulses. The pulses received over the wire from the office call box would trip a specific Gill selector, closing a set of contacts in the selector which would light a lamp or otherwise indicate the origin of the call. The telegram boy would then know which office to go to. We occasionally have call boxes and selectors offered here.
#097CEG U.S. Electric Co. gill selector.
A scarce gill selector from the United States Electric Company, with the name and "pat Dec 15 '08" cast into the top pf the glass cover. The porcelain base measures about 3-1/2 x 6 inches. It is in excellent condition, and the coils check out with continuity. (I do not know the operating voltage.)
#0505CLG Western Union 6B Call Box.
Metal oval deep blue porcelain finished cover, red knob, white porcelain base. The base is about 3-1/2 x 6 inches. The mechanism was made by T.A. Edison inc. The code wheel is 5-4. Western Union inspection stamp on bottom. Very good condition, tiny white paint speckles on upper sides (will clean up), no chips. Second photo.
$120.00 (S&H = $9.00)
#307BGE Western Union 6B Call Box.
Metal oval deep blue porcelain finished cover, black knob, white porcelain base. The base is about 3-1/2 x 6 inches. The mechanism was made by Hammarlund. The code wheel is 3-1-4. Western Union inspection stamp on bottom. Very good condition; chipping around lower cover screw, excellent porcelain base. Second photo. Third photo.
$110.00 (S&H = $9.00)
#W906DEP Western Union 6B Call Box.
Metal oval deep blue porcelain finished cover, black knob, white porcelain base. The base is about 3-1/2 x 6 inches. The mechanism was made by T.A. Edison inc. The code wheel is 3-5-1. Western Union inspection stamp on bottom. Chipped around cover screws and on right edge (see third photo), otherwise it is in good condition. Second photo. Third photo.
$75.00 (S&H = $9.00)
#C606BRT Western Union 4B Call Box.
This old-style call box has a metal oval deep blue porcelain finished cover on a large white porcelain base. It has exposed front terminals and the old-style crank knob. The base is about 3-1/2 x 6-1/2 inches. The mechanism, made by Hammarlund, has code wheel #22, and it works. The cover is in excellent condition, as is the base. Second photo.
$145. (S/H = $9.00)
#WU907BRH Western Union 4B Call Box.
This old-style call box has a metal oval deep blue porcelain finished cover on a large white porcelain base. It has exposed front terminals and the old-style crank knob. The base is about 3-1/2 x 6-1/2 inches. The mechanism, made by Hammarlund, has code wheel #115, and it works. The face of the cover is in excellent condition with "Western Union" undamaged and nicely readable, though there is a large scrape on the left side, and a couple of chips at the lower end of the base. Second photo.
$120. (S/H = $9.00)
A telegraph line is a single wire, with the earth used as the ground return. A station or depot has two wires entering the station (commonly called "east" and "west" lines). They would first be tied to a lightning arrester for station and instrument protection, and from the arrester to a switchboard.
At left is a lightning arrester. The east and west lines connect to the top outer terminals; note the saw-teeth on these plates, to encourage high voltage (lightning or static) to jump to the center plate, which is grounded. The local circuit (to a key and sounder, or key and relay) connects to the lower terminals. Inserting the brass peg in the bottom hole joins the lines and cuts out (bypasses) the local circuit. The top outer holes are used to ground one side of the line or the other for test purposes. The peg is put in the top center hole when not used.
At right above is a single-line switchboard (sometimes called a pegboard, or button switch). Two pegs are required to connect (or cut in) the wires to a set of local instruments (relay, key, sounder). Alternatively, one peg (usually placed at the top of the board) is required to ground one side of the line for fault test purposes. One peg (usually placed at the bottom of the board) is required to connect the wires together and thus cut out the station; some older boards require two pegs to cut out. (The station can be cut out either on the arrester or on the switchboard.) Since only one of these actions is done at a time, the minimum number of pegs required for a board is two times the number of lines it handles.
The arrester and pegboard shown above are not for sale; the ones we have for sale are shown below.
Pegs: Since a large railroad junction station or Western Union office might have several switchboards in use, the pegs might have been mixed or borrowed from one board to the other. And since the boards may have been purchased at different times, made by different manufacturers, or transferred from other offices, each of them may be found with a mix of peg styles. The pegs would be of the same size to fit the board, but the knob style can be different. I will try to state whether the pegs for one of our boards match or not, but sometimes the difference is slight. Do not be surprised if you receive a switchboard with a slightly different variety of peg styles in it.
#111BTL Bunnell "Union" arrester.
Described in the 1915 Bunnell catalog as "Union lightning arrester and ground wire switch, serves as a peg cut-out, lightning arrester, and ground wire switch." It is a saw-tooth lightning arrester and with the single peg you can ground either side of the line to test for faults, or short the lines together which cuts out your station.
The base is 2-3/4" x 3-3/4". This scarce little arrester is in excellent condition. The peg holes are unusually small; since the original peg was missing I had to grind down a peg to fit the holes.
#407RAT102 New Haven Clock Company / Western Union single line switchboard.
Here is one of the scarce telegraph items made by the electrical department of NHCCo during the 1880s. This is a small (3-1/2 x 4-1/4 inches) single line switchboard (pegboard). It has a plate-type lightning arrester, and cast iron foot mounting brackets. This was purchased and used by Western Union Telegraph; stamped into the wood base is WU TEL CO.
This is in very good original condition; the brass has the patina of age which you may wish to polish to match the excellent condition of the wood base. It includes four pegs, one of which does not match the others.
Name on lightning arrester plate.
WUTEL name stamped into base.
#1008BEL Bunnell Telegraphic single line switchboard.
Items from the Bunnell Telegraphic & Electrical Co. are scarce; this company was in operation only from 1900 to 1904. And single line switchboards are uncommon. Which makes this single line swichboard with the BT&E mark rare. The wood base measures about 3-1/2 x 4-1/4 inches, has a plate-type lightning arrester, and cast iron foot mounting brackets.
This includes two pegs. It apparently was on the wall of a depot or office when the walls were repainted; the feet and sides of the base have gray paint on them. The brass is oxidized; the left runner shows some electrical burn marks; the center peg storage hole has been drilled out. It thas three different style terminals (although none are obvious replacements). A ancient and rare artifact for your depot.
Name on lightnng arrester plate.
#208TEP Bunnell two-line telegraph switchboard.
It is rare to find a board in this condition: Here is a new old stock Bunnell two-line switchboard, with individual plate style lightning arresters on each line. The maker's identification appears on a brass plate. This board measures 7-1/2 inches high x 7 inches wide (plus the extended mounting feet).
This includes its original cloth parts bag of two brass mounting screws and six cross-cut pegs. This is in new, "museum quality" condition.
#B806TTT Bunnell-Western Union three-line telegraph switchboard.
This is a three-line switchboard, with a plate style lightning arrester. The Bunnell name is stamped at the center of the lightning arrester plate, and "W.U.T.Co." is stamped into the wood at the upper right. The style of the local circuit wire terminals (see second photo) suggests that it is relatively early. This measures 8-3/4 inches high x 9 inches wide (plus the extended mounting feet). This comes with a full set of six cross-cut pegs with unusual tops. Good condition; there is a heavy patina on all of the brass.
Pegs and terminals.
#705TTE Bunnell four-line telegraph switchboard.
This is an early four-line switchboard with disc type lightning arresters on each line. The Bunnell name is stamped in the wood at bottom center. It is also stamped with the Hocking Valley Railroad name (1864 - 1930, Ohio). This board measures 11-1/2 inches high and 10-1/4 inches wide (plus the extended mounting feet).
This is an early board dating to the 1800s as shown by the disc arresters, single-pin cutout (bypass) at the bottoms of the line bars, and beveled edges on the board. Disc arresters use a mica insulating spacer under the disc which is perforated areound the edge, providing an air gap (there are no micas on this board).
This is complete with eight pegs (as found) and even the rivets in the spare-peg holes. Good condition for its age; it has never been cleaned, and would bebefit from a mild cleaning of the brass and wood (but do not strip it or use harsh cleansers).
Overall this is a nice, rare, early railroad-marked switchboard.
Railroad name stamp.
Bunnell name stamp.
#B1106TRGT Bunnell five-line telegraph switchboard.
This is a scarce five-line switchboard, with a plate style lightning arrester. The Bunnell name is stamped at the center of the lightning arrester plate. The style of the local circuit wire terminals (see second photo) suggests that it is relatively early. This large board measures 12 inches high x 12-1/2 inches wide (plus the extended mounting feet). The wood (which appears to be hard maple) has been stripped, but not refinished (the back was left unstripped). The brass strips and terminals have been cleaned. The pegs (a full set of ten) are replacements.
Pegs and terminals.
#508TLG Western Electric six-line telegraph switchboard.
This is a scarce six-line switchboard, with a plate style lightning arrester. Western Electric co., New York, is stamped at the center of the lightning arrester plate. This board measures about 14-1/2 inches wide X 13 inches high (plus the extended mounting feet). Note the painted N and S identifying line directions.
This is in overall good condition, see the photos. Note the paartially broken foot at top right. The pegs (a full set of twelve) are replacements.
#1008oyy Western Electric eight-line telegraph switchboard.
This is a rare eight-line switchboard, with a plate style lightning arrester. Western Electric co., New York, is stamped at the center of the lightning arrester plate. This board measures about 18 inches wide X 16-3/4 inches high (plus the extended mounting feet). The board has some of the lines identified by numbered nails (see photo). The pegs (a full set of sixteen) are original (as found). This board is complete and original in well-used condition.
Nails identifying lines.
#1008ogy National Electric / Western Union ten-line telegraph switchboard.
This is a rare ten-line switchboard, with a plate style lightning arrester. Nat. Elec. Mfg. Co. 14 & 16 Vesey St., NY, is stamped at the center of the lightning arrester plate. This dates it to the late 1800s.
It was used in a Western Union office as identified by the W.U. TEL. CO. stamp in the wood at the lower right of the board. This board measures about 19-1/2 inches wide X 17-1/2 inches high (plus the extended mounting feet). The pegs (a full set of twenty) are original (as found). This board is complete and original in well-used condition.
Resonators, to quote an old Bunnell catalog, are "for loudening, concentrating and directing the signals of an ordinary Morse sounder to the ear of the receiving operator. Especially adapted for receiving operators using the typewriter, for noisy railroad stations, and for all situations where the sound of the instrument is subject to interference from outside noises."
There are three general shapes of resonator hoods: the early square box style (rare), the curved-back "Mascot" shape (scarce), and the more common triangular "Acme" shape. Mascot and Acme are Bunnell terms, but serve to identify similar styles used by Postal Telegraph, Pennsylvania Railroad and others.
There are two types of resonator stands: portable, which can be moved to any position on the desk within range of the cord, and adjustable, which would have the base screwed to the desk but with two or three swing arms to enable the hood to be positioned close to or away from the operator. Almost all swing arms you will find are made by, and marked, the White Company of Worcester, Massachusetts (and that city is pronounced "wiss-tuh" here in New England). The most common portable stand is the candlestick telephone type, but many interesting cast iron varieties of portable stands can be found. Some cast iron portable stands are rare and very collectible.
Since you may have a particular preference for the style of sounder to be used, or a requirement for a certain sounder resistance, most of our resonators are offered without a sounder.
#208BHY portable resonator.
A scarce Mascot type hood on a rare cast iron desk stand, with message rack. No identification as to maker. The rack is the bronze Bunnell type.
This shows its age. There is a crack in the curved back of the hood, and the painted finish of the base is mostly gone. The cord is quite worn and may need replacement. Interestingly, a pencil is pushed into the base where to cord enters to keep the cord from pulling out.
The sounder is shown for display, and is not included.
Back of resonator.
#1012BPE Mascot style portable resonator.
As above, but without message rack. No identification as to maker. Overallheight is 14-1/2 inches; the hood opening is 7 x 5 inches.
The top of the hood is chipped,and the shellac finish has the typical shrinking of age. The cast iron base is patinated with light surface oxidation. There is no cord.
The sounder is shown for display, and is not included.
$179.00 (US S&H=$15.00)
#312BRY Algoma resonator hood.
This is a scarce Western Union resonator hood made by the Algoma Panel Company, as stated on the metal nameplate -- in all my years of collecting this is only the second one I have seen by Algoma. The bottom photo shows a WU stamp, and the hood mount bracket which is finished in WU green. If you have a White Company stand with a missing or damaged hood, here is a great item for your collection.
The sounder is shown for display, and is not included.
#114TLR three-arm resonator .
A three-arm resonator with a Western Union Telegraph Company hood made by the Enterprise Specialty Manufacturing Company (the hood is so marked, but faintly). The metal parts are WU green.
This is as-found and needs cleaning. The back of the hood is slightly warped. The original wiring is in very poor condition and this may be shipped minus the wire.
The sounder is shown for display and is not included.
White name on arm.
Back of hood.
Warp on back of hood.
WU name on hood.
Maker's name on hood.
#411CAP two arm resonator.
This consists of a two-arm cast iron resonator stand made by the White Company of Worcester, Mass., patent date 1911, and an unmarked (no name) hood. This was used on a Colorado railroad, probably the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe. A paper pasted in the resonator above the sounder lists the office codes for the La Junta, Denver and Trinidad operators (it is quite faint and has been coated with shellac).
This is in as-found condition. The lower stand and the hood mount are Western Union green; the two arms are black. The longer arm has some loss of finish. The back of the hood has been painted black, and much of the hood has a shellac (or laquer) overcoat. Physically it is in very good condition and would be a nice authentic item for your railroad or landline display.
The sounder is shown for display and is not included.
#1000TOE Bunnell portable resonator with/without sounder.
The stand is similar to the Western Electric "candlestick" type, but this cast iron Bunnell stand is much heavier. This has a brass nameplate on the hood. At the back of the hood are wire terminals (probably added by a later owner); of course the sounder wires may be brought down inside the stand and out the bottom, as usual. This scarce resonator is in very good condition, as shown.
The model 15-B sounder is marked Western Union / Bunnell / 120 ohms. It is tested and works on 6 volts DC. It is in unusually nice condition.
The resonator is available separately, or with the sounder as shown. The sounder is not wired to the rear terminals.
Hood and sounder.
Nameplate on hood.
Back of hood.
#501TEG Western Electric portable resonator.
This portable resonator is comprised of a Western Electric 10A hood on a Western Electric stand. It is in vry good condition, ready to be wired with your favorite sounder.
#611BAH Western Electric table resonator and sounder.
Western Electric model 12A table resonator with a Western Electric model 3B sounder, 20 ohms. It has the WE decal on the back. The sounder included here is marked on the lever and the wooden base. Table resonators were fixed to the operator's desk, and not mounted on a stand.
The resonator and sounder are in very good cosmetic condition. The sounder is tested and works (use 3 to 6 volts).
Insulators are a nice "go with" to a telegraph instrument display. Although we don't especially look for insulators or pins, we sometimes acquire them in estates; I will offer those we find below.
The insulator was affixed to a pin attached to a pole. The telegraph wire was laid against the insulator's wire groove and held in place with a tie wire.
Pins were usually straight iron type, side-mount wood, or straight crossarm-mount wood.
Collectors identify insulator shapes by "CD" number; I will give these when I can but since I am not an insulator collector I cannot guarantee it.
#PIN-IRON iron insulator pin.
Overall this cast iron pin is about 7" wide and 4-1/2" high. It is painted black (has minor chipping). May date from the late 1800s.
Shown with insulator (not included).
#511TPA iron crossarm pin with insulator.
This is a vertical pin for inserting in a crossarm; it has a threaded wooden cob at the top for holding the insulator. The overall length is 9-1/2 inches. Included is a 4" light green insulator marked "B".
The pin is heavily pitted and the nut is frozen on to it. The skirt of the insulator is chipped about 40% around.
$29.00 (USA S&H = $12.00)
#ARMSTRONGS3 clear glass insulator.
Cast into this type CD-115 clear glass insulator is ARMSTRONG'S NO. 3, MADE IN U.S.A. (A in a circle) 3 5 .... [four dots]". It is about 3-1/4" high and has two wire grooves. Very good condition, no chips or cracks.
$9.00 (USA S&H = $9.00)
#BROOKFIELD1 green glass insulator.
Cast into this type CD-102 green glass insulator is "BROOKFIELD". It is about 3-1/4" high and has one wire groove. Seems roughly cast; good condition.
#WU-INS Western Union insulator.
Rubber insulator made by Continental Rubber Works for Western Union. Cast into it is: front: CONTINENTAL / RUBBER WORKS U.S.A. back: W.U.TEL.CO. / PAT.PEND. dome: R*4 mold: 31 and 2-C. This measures about 3-3/4" high. The threaded wooden cob (originally on an iron pin) is still inside.
$19.00 (USA S&H = $9.00)
#508COG J.H. Bunnell battery jar.
A glass screw-top type jar or bottle standing about 8" high. Cast into the glass is "J.H. Bunnell & Co., N.Y." The top of the rim has been ground to a flat surface.
Although I could not find it in my old Bunnell catalog, this is a Grenet-type battery jar dating from the late 1800s; compare the Novelty Electrical Company battery jar shown on this page.
It is a rare item; in twenty years of collecting telegraph apparatus, this is the first Bunnell Grenet-type jar I have seen. It is in very good condition, with no chips or cracks.
#208CCH Telegraph glue strip moistener.
When telegrams were received on a paper-strip printer, the operator would cut the strip into appropriate lengths, moisten the glue on the back with this instrument, and apply the strips to the telegrapm form.
The plastic water container is about 5-1/4 inches long. This set includes three metal caps: two Western Union caps (marked WU TEL CO) of different styles, and one Postal Telegraph cap (marked POSTAL). It also includes a green plastic "finger cutter" (worn on the operator's finger and used to quickly and efficiently cut the strips into lengths) marked Western Union.
This rare set is unusually complete, and in very good condition.
#WUCHAIR Western Union operator's chair.
Several years ago, the North Station terminal of the Boston and Maine Railroad was renovated (along with the entire Boston Garden sports arena). I was fortunate to be able to acquire several items from the telegraph office - which included this Western Union telegraph operator's chair. I have only seen one other in thirty years of collecting.
This rare item could be the final touch to completing your railroad or WUTCo office display. Good used condition.
Second photo. ... Stamp under seat. ... Another view.
$775.00 ... Pick up in Stow Mass., or I can deliver to a local hamfest; inquire re shipping.
#0605TRT Early Western Union telegram..
1857 Western Union telegram. Western Union was formed, as this form says, by a "consolidation of the House, Morse, O'Reilly, Wade, Speed and Cornell telegraph lines." This message was sent just the year after the creation of the giant telegraph company. It is dated April 9, 1857, years before the completion of the first transcontinental line (1861). It was sent from Columbus and received at Mt. Vernon. A similar, and only slightly earlier, telegram is shown in Oslin's The Story of Telecommunications (p. 81). An early, scarce and historic document. Good condition, edges age toned, stain on right, left side fold open about 2". larger photo. $245.00 (S&H = $5.00)
#OLIVER708 Oliver Visible Typewriter.
One of the most identifiable of early telegrapher's "mills" was the Oliver side-strike typebar "visible writer." This was advertised extensively to telegraph operators in early twentieth century publications such as the Railroad Telegrapher published by the Order of Railroad Telegraphers (ORT) - see photo below. If you want a scarce, authentic operator's mill for your depot display, here is the Oliver No. 5. The serial numer 187xxx dates it between 1907 and 1910. Each type-bar has three characters - lower case, caps and figures - so there are two shift keys on each side.
This item is original, the finish and gilt lettering is in very good condition. All of the keys are free and operate their typebar. The space bar does not work and I think the carriage string is broken (there is a string on the right platen knob holding a part, that may be it, see photos). It looks like there was a pencil holder atop the right hand typebar segment, but it is broken. Otherwise this is a complete and nice looking addition to your old depot display, and it may work with a little repair.
$175.00 -- Shipping about $15 to $36, inquire with your address for S/H cost.
#0305BEE Ticket Office Sign.
This is a double faced porcelain-on-metal sign from the old Boston Garden, playground for the Boston Celtics basketball team and the Boston Bruins hockey team. More relevant to railroad collectors, it is also the North Station of the Boston & Maine Railroad. The Garden underwent a complete renovation in the early 1990s, and this sign came from that work. It is double-sided, and 42 x 12 x 2" thick. Has hanger hooks. It shows some wear, age and chips (the photos make it look somewhat better than it is).
$150.00 (S&H lower 48 states = $26.00)
#0105BPL Western Union sign.
Here is an original, vintage Western Union sign. The color of this large porcelain-coated metal sign is white lettering on deep cobalt blue. It is double sided, measures 30 x 18 inches, and has 14 holes around the edge for mounting (suggest hanging by chain from top holes for view of both sides). Although the edges show chipping damage, the lettered face is in very good condition. The lettering on one side is almost untouched (unusually nice!); the other has a nickel-size chip on the "W" and a smaller chip on the last "N" of "Western." There is a ripple or wave in the bottom edge of the sign.
second photo. ... third photo.
$265.00 (S&H lower 48 states = $22.00)
#208BOA Weston model 264 table meter.
The dial of this meter bears five patent dates, from 1888 to 1901 with "others pending." It is also marked W.U. TEL. CO (Western Union Telegraph) type 1-A. Overall dimensions are 6-1/4 x 4-1/4 x 2-1/2 inches deep. The scale goes +/- 175 milliamperes DC.
The metal case is painted gold (the original color was black) and the nameplate has been polished. This is tested and works (I used the center terminal as common and applied 100 ma first to one outside terminal, then the other).
Nameplate. ... Back.
#M1204BLL Weston model 264 table meter, 30 ma.
The metal housing of this Weston telegraph "mil-ammeter" measures 6" x 4" x 1-1/2" deep. Made for Western Electric / American Telephone, the scale is marked "A.T.&T. Co." and "W.E. Co. No. 12015." The nameplate includes five patent dates from 1888 to 1901, and "other patents pending." Mounts to table or circuit base-plate with two screws into the bottom (looks like #8/32). This meter has two terminals on the back, and the center-zero scale reads 30-0-30 milliamperes. Very good condition, tested and working.
#ALBERTTIN Pince Albert tobacco tin. What's a resonator without a Prince Albert tin to modify and further amplify the sound to the operator's liking? These are old tins without the UPC bar code (pre-mid 1970s). Most have the Prince in an oval on both sides, an earlier one has a legend on the back. One of these on your sounder will provide a colorful finishing touch on your resonator display as shown here.
PATIN-5 With zip code in address (1963 - 1970s). (The address is on the side of the tin, and the zip code would not be very noticable with the tin behind the sounder.)
PATIN-4 No zip code in address (pre-1963). Top reads "net wt. 1 5/8 oz." Badly dented at bottom (perhaps from being jammed between the sounder and resonator).
PATIN-3 Early tin: No zip code; the legend on back includes "does not bite the tongue", top reads "improved top".
Very good condition. SOLD
Add $3.00 shipping... no shipping charge is ordered with any instrument.
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