American Landline Keys

Below is the continuation of the American landline keys page with keys dating from around 1880 to the early 20th century.

Pictures are arranged approximately by age, with the older keys first.

(Click on each thumbnail to view the full size image):

Lewis Key on Hard Rubber Base. Western Electric, Chicago. Ca. 1880 Another View of the Rubber Based Lewis Key

Straight Lever Key by Lannert & Decker, Cleveland. Ca. 1880

Step Lever Key by Post & Co, Cincinnati Ca. 1880
Straight Key by LG Tillotson, NY on a Shield-Shaped Base. Ca. 1880 Another View of the Tillotson Straight Key Bridge Frame Camelback Key by LG Tillotson, NY on a Hard Rubber Base Rear View of the Bridge Frame Tillotson Key
Another Bridge Frame Key on Hard Rubber Base. This One Was Made by Partrick & Carter, Philadelphia. Ca. Early 1880's Another View of the Partrick & Carter Bridge Frame Key A Different Version of the Partrick & Carter Bridge Frame Key With a Camelback Lever Bridge Frame Camelback Key on Hard Rubber Base by Post & Co, Cleveland. Ca. Early 1880's
Unusual Bridge-Frame Camelback Key Mounted on a Board With Multiple Switches. Maker Unknown The Key Has a set of Auxilliary Contacts at the Rear of the Key A Lewis Style Key on Hard Rubber Base Marked "Chicago Telegraph Supply". Likely Made by Western Electric. Ca. Early 1880's Walter Phillips Patent Key by LG Tillotson, NY. Ca. 1880
Another View of the Phillips Key Delany Patent Key Made by Partrick & Carter, Philadelphia. Has a Unique Rotatable Contact Disk. Ca. 1880 Another View of the Delany Key The JH Bunnell 1881 Patent Steel Lever Key, 1st Model
A Later Example of a JH Bunnell Legless Steel Lever Key. One of the Most Common Telegraph Keys The Washington Key by Thomas Hall, Boston. Ca. 1881 Another View of the Hall Washington Key Altoona Shops Cain Key, Altoona PA. Ca. 1881
Another View of the Altoona Shops Cain Key Camelback Key by George D'Infreville, NY. Ca. 1881 Another View of the D'Infreville Key Close-up of the D'Infreville Marking
The Prosch Key, Invented by Cyrus Prosch. Ca. 1882 Another View of the Prosch Key Top View of the Prosch Key Close-Up of the Spiral Contact. The Knob Can be Rotated to Provide a Clean Contact When Needed
The Edwards Key, Ca. 1882. Note the Unusual Leaf Spring Pivot Another View of the Edwards Key The Cumming Periphery Contact Key Made by LG Tillotson, NY, Ca. 1882 Another View of the Cumming Periphery Contact Key
The Contacts are Brass Disks With a Platinum Wire Around the Periphery. Disks Are Positioned at Right Angles to Each Other Close-up of the Circuit Closer Showing the Key Name Disk Assemblies Can be Loosened and Rotated to Provide a Clean Contact When Needed The Stevens Key Made by LG Tillotson, NY Ca. 1883. Contacts at the Rear of the Key
Another View of the Stevens Key Close-up of the Circuit Closer With the Stevens Name Victor Leg Key, 1st Model, by LG Tillotson, NY Ca. 1882. Uses a Knife-Edge Pivot Victor Legless Key, 1st Model Ca. 1882. Mounted on Hard Rubber Base
Victor Leg Key, 2nd Model Ca. 1884 Victor Legless Key, 2nd Model A Key Made By George H Wells, Patterned After a Victor Key. (No Record of this Maker) Rather Than a Knife-Edge Pivot, The Wells Key Pivots on a Thin Metal Pin That Rests in a Slot in the Side of the Frame
Camelback Key by American Union Telegraph Co. Ca. 1880's Another View of the American Union Key Showing a Double-Stamped Maker's Marking Steel Lever Lewis Key by Western Electric, Chicago. Ca. 1884 Another View of the Steel Lever Lewis Key
Lewis Steel Lever Leg Key Ca. 1884 Another View of the Steel Lever Lewis Leg Key The 3 Major Lewis Keys Caton Pattern Camelback Key by ES Greeley, NY Ca. 1885
The Greeley Ludwig Instrument. ES Greeley, NY. Ca. 1886 The Jenkins Key Made by JH Bunnell, NY Ca. 1886. Invented by MR Jenkins, Browning Missouri Odd Step-Lever Key With Multiple Contacts. Possibly for Multiplex Use. Maker Unknown. Ca. 1880's Another View of the Multiple-Contact Key
Steiner Leg Key by Western Electric, Chicago Ca. 1886. Uses a Leaf-Spring Pivot Another View of the Steiner Leg Key Steiner Legless Key Ca. 1886 Another View of the Steiner Legless Key
A Different Version of the Steiner Leg Key With a Unique Contact Frame Close-Up of the Steiner Contact Frame The Steel Lever Acme Key by Partrick & Carter, Philadelphia Ca. 1886 Another View of the Acme Key
Leaf-Spring Pivot Key by American Electrical Works, Cleveland Ca. 1886. Similar in Design to the Steiner Key Another View of the American Electrical Works Key Biggs Leg Key, Made By Standard Electric, Louisville, Kentucky Ca. 1886 Another View of the Biggs Leg Key
Biggs Legless Key Ca. 1886 Another View of the Biggs Legless Key Camelback Key by Charles Bly, Boston Ca. Late 1880's Another View of the Bly Camelback Key
Steel Lever Key by CH Dubois, NY Ca. 1886 The Conklin Key by Lewis & Fowler Mfg. Co, Brooklyn NY. Ca. 1887 Top View of the Conklin Key Showing the Unusual Pivot Camelback Key by JH Bunnell, NY. From a KOB Set. Ca. Late 1880's
Straight Lever Key by AB Lyman, Cleveland. From a KOB Set. Ca. Late 1880's Small Camelback Key by JH Longstreet, NY Ca. Late 1880's Another View of the Longstreet Camelback Key Full Size Camelback Key by JH Longstreet, NY. Ca. Late 1880's
Steel Lever Key by JH Longstreet, NY. Ca. Late 1880's Solid Base Rear-Pivot Key by Western Electric, Chicago. Legless Version. Ca. Late 1880's Another View of the Western Electric Key Solid Base Rear-Pivot Leg Key by Western Electric, Chicago Ca. Late 1880's
Another View of the Western Electric Leg Key Close-up of the Ornate Western Electric Logo Camelback Key by ES Greeley, NY. Ca. Late 1880's Miniature Leg Key by Western Electric, Chicago. Ca. Late 1880's
Another View of the Miniature Western Electric Leg Key A Different Version of the Western Electric Mini Leg Key for Fire Alarm Use. Note the Lack of Circuit Closer and Insulated Rear Contact Leaf-Spring Pivot Key by AB Lyman, Cleveland. Ca. 1888 Another View of the Lyman Leaf-Spring Pivot Key
Steel Lever Legless Key by New Haven Clock Co. Ca. 1888 Steel Lever Legless Key by National Electric Co NY Ca. 1890. New Haven Clock Co Was Bought by National Electric in 1890 "The Unique Key" by National Electric Co. Ca. 1890 Another View of the National Electric "Unique Key"
Steel Lever Leg Key by Altoona RR Shops, Altoona PA. Ca. 1890 Close-up of the Altoona Shops Name The Bradford Self-Closing Telegraph Key. Patented by Charles Bradford, 1892 Double-Rod Lever Leg Key by Western Electric, Chicago. Ca. 1893
Double-Rod Lever Legless Key by Western Electric, Chicago. Ca. 1893 An Unusual Double-Rod Lever Key With AB Lyman Markings Close-Up of the AB Lyman Markings Straight Lever Key by Sherman & Lyman, Cleveland. Ca. Early 1890's
Another View of the Sherman & Lyman Key Straight Lever Leg Key by Partrick & Carter, Philadelphia Ca. Early 1890's. Someone Had the Key Chrome Plated An Unusual Round Base Key Marked "C.L. Smith". May Have Been a Homemade Key Victor Style Key by Western Electric, Chicago. Ca. Late 1890's
Another View of the Western Electric Victor Key Another Victor Style Key by Foote-Pierson, NY. Ca. 1900 Yet Another Victor Key, This One Made by JH Bunnell The Lefley Key. Made in Columbia Pennsylvania. Ca. 1902
Another View of the Lefley Key The Fry Open-Circuit Leg Key by JH Bunnell, NY. Ca. 1902 Another View of the Bunnell Fry Key Miniature Key Made by JH Bunnell, NY for the 25th Reunion of the Old Time Telegrapher Assn. 1905
The Bunnell Miniature Key Has a Loop to be Used as a Watch FOB The Underside of the Miniature Key Showing the Information About the Reunion Another Bunnell Miniature Key Together With the Matching Miniature Sounder "The Twentieth Century Key" by Foote-Pierson, NY. Ca. 1905. A Pump-Handle Key Operated Sideways to Prevent Telegrapher's Glass Arm
Another View of the Twentieth Century Key The Bunnell Sideswiper Key by JH Bunnell, NY. Ca. 1906. Mounted on an Iron Base With Japanned Finish Another View of the Bunnell Sideswiper JH Bunnell Leg Key With Mecograph Style Tiger Stripe Finish. Ca. 1910
Another View of the Tiger Stripe Bunnell Leg Key Top View of the Bunnell Key Showing the Tiger Stripes Steel Lever Key by Postal Telegraph / Foote-Pierson. With the Western Union Maroon Color. Ca. 1910 Another View of the Postal Telegraph Key
Top View of the Key Showing the Postal Telegraph Name, Which is Cast Into the Base Leg Key by MESCO (Manhattan Electrical Supply Co), NY. Ca. 1910 MESCO Legless Key Ca. 1910 The Propst-Jackson Telegraph Transmitter, Charlotte North Carolina. Ca. 1910
Another View of the Propst-Jackson Telegraph Transmitter Close-up of the Propst-Jackson Nameplate W.U. Polechanger Key 1-B. Spies Electrical Works, Chicago Bunnell Legless Key 5-A
Legless Key 5-A With the Cover Removed Bunnell Type 7B Key The Type 7B Was a Panel Mounted Key, Possibly Used for Testing Circuits A View of the Underside of the Type 7B Key
The Banholzer Key. A Mechanical Key Attached to a Candlestick Phone to Make Clicking Sounds That Can be Heard Over the Telephone Audio. Ca. 1916 Another View of the Banholzer Key The Banholzer Key Installed on a Candlestick Phone Western Electric 6B Telephone Line Test Key. This Key is Sometimes Mistakenly Referred to as a "Spy" Key, but was Actually Part of the W.E. Type 35 Line Test Set. Ca. 1930
 
The Western Electric 35F Telephone Line Test Set Close-up of the WE-35F set, showing the 4 small keys

An earlier version of the WE-35F, the WE-35C

 

 

 

 

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