Camelback Morse Keys.........Did U Know ..????

Discussion in 'Straight Keys - CW Enthusiasts' started by K1LKP, Aug 12, 2021.

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  1. K1LKP

    K1LKP Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

  2. KL7AJ

    KL7AJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I've used one before...it's definitely a different feel with the "gravity feed" But one could get used to it.
     
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  3. KX5ALC

    KX5ALC Ham Member QRZ Page

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  4. WA3LKN

    WA3LKN Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I've never seen a camelback key that didn't have a spring. I'd love to see one or a diagram if somebody can produce one. Contrary to the article, I'm not sure they exist but would love to be educated. To the best of my knowledge, all straight keys have had some sort of spring, either coiled or a flat spring. See a diagram of early camelbacks (1866 George Prescott tome), both of which had springs. I couldn't determine who the author was who wrote the article referenced (above).

    The camelbacks introduced by George Phelps in the 1860's when he was employed as the equipment designer for the American Telegraph Company were strictly a stylistic convention of the mid-19th century and had no function. A machinist with whom I've discussed this thought the production of camelbacks would of necessity produce more wastage of material than a conventional straight lever key.

    The early Phelps camelbacks were marked AM TEL CO and when the company merged into Western Union in 1869, the notation changed to WUT CO but the keys were the same.

    Interestingly, the AM TEL CO unit depicted (below) had surface decoration that looks like something you would do with a Dremel cut-off tool, done before the amber lacquer went on.

    Phelps also designed distinctive round sounders and an embossing register.

    See photos.
     

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    Last edited: Aug 14, 2021
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