History of the Morse Key

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by G4TUT, Jan 31, 2016.

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  1. G4TUT

    G4TUT Ham Member QRZ Page

    History of the Morse Key
    Since the first Morse telegraph systems were introduced, an enormous variety of Morse keys or telegraph keys and keyers have been constructed.

    From Straight keys including the Camelback Morse key, to automatic Morse keyers such as the Vibroplex, their development has seen many new innovations, and enormous changes in style.

    Even today many people enjoy sending Morse Code using these Morse keys. While some may say that they are simply a switch, this is most certainly not the case. Morse keys have been the subject of over 300 patents in the USA alone, and they have undergone a considerable amount of development. The way in which keys have developed since the very first ones used by Morse himself is a fascinating story. Some styles of key are quite familiar, whilst others have quite unusual attributes and as a result many people find collecting keys a fascinating pastime.

    Watch this video about the history of the Morse key

    There is also a text page on the Electronics+radio website

    DH7HS, N0TZU, KI5IO and 3 others like this.
  2. KK5R

    KK5R Ham Member QRZ Page

    Very interesting and appropriate topic. Thanks...

    Here is more of interest to Key collectors and telegraphy items:

    Another fine gallery of pictures and general history of keys is here:

    A history of telegraphy from the beginning days is here:

    Another good historical account:

    What some hams may not know is that Samuel F.B. Morse was a well-known painter before and after getting into telegraphy. Some of his paintings are hanging in the Halls of Congress, in fact. His middle initials (F.B) do not stand for or is the origin for "Fine Business" as I've heard some opine. It represented the middle names Finley Breese, a unique naming of an unusual man.
    Ref: http://www.history.com/topics/inventions/telegraph
    N0TZU, KI5IO and W7UUU like this.
  3. KK5R

    KK5R Ham Member QRZ Page

    Last edited: Jan 31, 2016
    N0TZU, KI5IO and W7UUU like this.
  4. KK5R

    KK5R Ham Member QRZ Page

    Further reading revealed that Finley Breese was the name of his mother, per the Wiki link above.

    Also, here are "Six Things you may not know about Samuel Morse":

    Another tribute to Morse is here:

    More to the topic of this discussion, here is the first telegraph key, The Correspondent:
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2016
    KI5IO and W7UUU like this.
  5. K7FD

    K7FD Subscriber QRZ Page

    Do you always talk to yourself?

    ;) John K7FD
  6. DM2LI

    DM2LI Ham Member QRZ Page

    John K7FD seems to be in a very bad mood , as one can make out on his strange comment about KK5R
    KK5R likes this.
  7. K3WKK

    K3WKK Ham Member QRZ Page

    I, for one, find the information fascinating... Thanks KK5R...
    KK5R likes this.
  8. KK5R

    KK5R Ham Member QRZ Page

    At least my comments related to the topic at hand: Morse Keys and, by extension, to radiotelegraphy.

    My inspiration was the main theme of the forum's topic — and will continue to be so.


    The original key made by Vail is reminiscent of the hacksaw blade keys made by hams later. And then there are the Bulldog paperclip keys/paddles that are also interesting.

    More on the Bulldog paddle is here:
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2016
  9. N7RD

    N7RD Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thanks for the post, very interesting for those of us that love Morse.
    KK5R likes this.
  10. KK5R

    KK5R Ham Member QRZ Page

    Here's an inspiring story about Morse code use and provides links for those who want to improve their expertise in the language.


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