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These sets were used for the manual and automatic sending of Morse Code to allow copying the code on a sounder, buzzer, or flashing light.
(Many code practice sets were used by the military of various countries for training radio operators. Therefore, I suggest that you also look in the Military Telegraph Keys sections of this website.)

(The instruments are in approximate chronological order: Oldest first.)
* = (Items no longer owned.) ** = (Items in other collections.)

3010 ''SPECIAL CIRCUIT'' TO ALLOW ANY SOUNDER TO BE OPERATED BY AUDIO TONES:(20KB) This circuit is easy to build and uses standard components available at any Radio Shack store. It accepts the audio tone output of a code practice oscillator or short wave receiver and converts those tones into the DC voltage necessary to operate an old-time telegraph sounder. It is adapted from a circuit designed by AD9E which was printed in Dave Ingram's book: Keys, Keys, Keys.

3050 * BUNNELL SIMPLE NON-ELECTRIC PRACTICE SET AND ORIGINAL BOX: (39KB) This lovely set with original shipping box was used for practice only. A small key knob is mounted directly on the sounder arm and produces a resounding "click whenever it is depressed. (Same as number 315.)

3051 * BUNNELL SIMPLE NON-ELECTRIC PRACTICE SET: (12KB) This interesting set was used for practice only. A small key knob is mounted directly on the sounder arm and produces a resounding "click whenever it is depressed.

3053 * BUNNELL ARTICULATED NON-ELECTRIC PRACTICE SET:(15KB) Interesting combination of a brass sounder and telegraph key with a mechanical connection whereby pressing the key causes the sounder to move downward to make a click. It was used to provide practice sounds for people learning the Morse code without the need for batteries and wiring. (Same as item 325.)

3053a The early Bunnell logo stamped into the base:(22KB)

3055 ** "AUDIO ALPHABET" MANUAL CODE PRACTICE SENDER:(22KB) This set consisted of a manually operated device which pulled a paper tape past a set of contacts which sensed holes in the tape and sent dots and dashes for code practice purposes. (This unit is in the John Casale - W2NI collection.)


3060 "OMNIGRAPH" AUTOMATIC CODE PRACTICE SENDER:(41KB) This mainspring-driven Omnigraph was used to key a sounder to provide random morse code characters for practice. It has fifteen code wheels which are notched with dots and dashes and can be shuffled or replaced to provide an unlimited number of combinations of characters.A mechanical speed governor adjusts sending speed. It shifts from wheel to wheel according to settings of "Kicker strips". Key-wound drive mechanism, code wheel turntable, and contact assembly are mounted on a wooden board labeled "THE OMNIGRAPH, The Omnigraph mfg. Co. 13-19 Hudson St. N.Y. U.S.A."

3060a Early advertisement for the Omnigraph:(41KB)

3060b Another early advertisement for the Omnigraph:(36KB)

3062 SMALLER OMNIGRAPH: (47KB) Same as above but has five code wheels and labeled 16-22 Hudson St.

3064 * MANUALLY OPERATED "OMNIGRAPH": (30KB) Very early model with 3 thin code wheels and a tiny hand crank on old style wooden base stamped only PAT Aug 25, 1883. Top wheel reads TRANSMITTER, Omnigraph Mfg. Co. New York, N.Y., & around the outside it says: JOHN QUICKLY EXTEMPORIZED FIVETOW BAGS corresponding to the notches.>>W2PM

3066 * "NATROMETER" AUTOMATIC CODE PRACTICE SET: (51KB) This set consists of an automatic spring-wound morse code sender, a nickel cased enclosed buzzer, an inductor, and a nickel plated, black metal based telegraph key on a wooden base labeled:"THE NATROMETER, Made Exclusively For: NATIONAL RADIO INSTITUTE, Washington, D.C. Patents Pending. The speed-governed code wheel has 9 levels and consists of alternating metal and insulating areas which are contacted by 9 brass strips which are automatically selected by programmable wooden pins. Has 2 wheels.

The Instructograph was produced from the 1920s until at least 1983! Instructographs were used by many thousands of would-be telegraph operators to learn and increase their code-copying ability. The original versions used a hand-wound spring driven motor with a centrifugal governor and were supplied with American Morse Code paper tapes with short holes for dots and long holes for dashes. They were sometimes also supplied with KOB sets as shown. Later models used electric motor drives and included a battery powered and later AC line powered oscillator to produce tones for training radio operators. There are a great many of these around so their value has remained low.

3075 * AMECO CODE PRACTICE RECORD SET: (42KB)Many tens of thousands of radiotelegraph operators learned the code by listening to this 78-rpm record set.

3075a * A view of the AMECO CODE PRACTICE RECORDS: (22KB)

3080 BRITISH H.W.SULLIVAN MANUAL CODE TAPE MAKING AND HIGH SPEED SENDING SYSTEM WITH HISTORIC TAPES:(15kb) This complete system was used to manually punch holes in paper tape and then transmit the International Morse Coded messages at high speed over wireless transmitters.
The tape reader is powered by an electric motor and speed is changed by installing one of the 9 pulleys.
The tape punch is labeled H.W.SULLIVAN - LONDON, E.C. The three key knobs were used to punch either dots, dashes, or spaces into the tape. These tape punches are also known as "mallet punches".
The 7 rolls of tape include messages which were actually transmitted in the 1930's. Station WCG at 1:42AM on 11/12/1936, Station WIY at 10:33PM on 11/2/1936, Station WKJ at 9:50PM on 10/31/1936, Station WEG at 9:28PM on 11/11/1936, and others. The tapes are contained in a box from RCA Victor Division of Radio Corporation of America, 415 S. Fifth St., Harrison, NJ addressed to: Lester C. Barlow, R.E. USNR. Class 11-43A, Radio Materiel School, Naval Research Labs, Washington, D.C. It is postmarked August 27, 1943.

3080a The electric motor driven tape transmitter and a tape:(12KB)

3080b Closeup of the tape reader head:(11KB)

3080c The Three-button manual tape punch:(11KB)

3080d Closeup of the brass tape punching mechanism:(11KB)

3080e Photo of the underside of the tape punch:(12KB)

3080f The rolls of punched tape with the times and dates of transmission:(32KB)

3100 * SIGNAL ELECTRIC CO. LEARNING SET:(20KB) This is the basic key and sounder practice telegraph set used by individuals and schools to help learn the code. It consists of a nice key and sounder mounted on a wooden base. The sounder and key are connected to the end two binding posts and the common wire to both sounder and key is connected to the center binding post. The sounder works on about 3-volts DC and can be operated by two flashlight batteries.

3110 SIGNAL ELECTRIC CO. PRACTICE TELEGRAPH KEY:(25KB) This is the basic Signal Electric Company telegraph key which was used by many thousands of people to help them learn the Morse code. It is a nicely made key mounted on a wooden base with the Signal Electric Company decal.

3120 * RCA INSTITUTES LEARNING SET:(23KB) This set consists of a key with brass screws, a steel lever, and a black cast base mounted on a wooden board with a buzzer enclosed in a cover stamped "SIGNAL". This probably indicates that it was made for RCA by Signal Electric Co. The label on the base is marked R.C.A. INSTITUTES INC, 75 Varick St.New York, N.Y. RCA Institutes trained thousands of "hams", soldiers, & civilians to be radio operators for war and peacetime service.

3121 * Similar to above with no cover over buzzer:(21KB)
3122 Same as above.

3130 * RADIO INSTITUTE OF AMERICA LEARNING SET:(24KB) Like 3120 but The label on the base is marked RADIO INSTITUTES OF AMERICA, NEW YORK, N.Y.

3132 Same as above. Signal Electric but no school label:(24KB)

3140 * EARLY E. F. JOHNSON LEARNER SET: This set consists of an early style all brass key with brass armiture and shorting bar mounted on a reddish stained wood base. The sounder is brass and black painted steel and is engraved E.F.Johnson Co., Waseca, MINN. Johnson catalog number is 114-110. With instruction book/ catalog & saggy box. Johnson label covered by CAMBOSCO Scientific Co.Boston label.

3140a * EARLY E.F.JOHNSON LEARNER SET:(17KB) Just like # 3140 but with a light wooden base.

3142 * E. F. JOHNSON LEARNER SET:(14KB) This set consists of a key with brass screws and shorting bar and black steel lever integrated onto a black plastic base engraved E F Johnson Co. Waseca, Minn. A 4 ohm mostly brass sounder is also mounted on the base. Johnson catalog number is 114-110.

3150 * ELECTRO-SET COMPANY TOY TIN KEY & SOUNDER PRACTICE SET:(18KB) This is a very simple but effective practice set consisting of a strap key and a very simple sounder mounted on a bakelite base.

3150a A closer view of the manufacturer's name:(13KB)

3155 * SIMPLE TOY TIN KEY & BUZZER PRACTICE SET:(17KB) This is a very simple key and buzzer practice set with a code chart on top and room for batteries inside. The key has an unusually wide lever.

3157 * SIMPLE TOY TIN KEY & BUZZER PRACTICE SET:(21KB) This is a very simple key and buzzer practice set.

3160 * TOY TWO-PIECE TIN KEY & SOUNDER PRACTICE SET:(14KB) This key and sounder are typical of the toy practice sets of the 1930s.

3170 VERY UNUSUAL GERMAN TOY SLIDING TELEGRAPH KEY:(9KB)This unusual toy key has a sliding lever which can be moved in (toward the pivot shaft) or out (away from the pivot shaft). When the lever is forward toward the shaft, one set of contacts is placed in position to be closed by pushing the knob downward and the toy set lighted a light bulb. When the lever is back toward the operator, a different set of contacts is enabled and the set operated a buzzer.

3268 * CANADIAN WILSON PRACTICE SET:(20KB) Labeled BUZZER, PRACTICE, CADET TYPE, Model A, Made in Canada by WILSON MFG CO, Toronto, Ontario. Consists of nickel plated key lever and hardware integrated onto black plastic base with a buzzer and 2 "D" cell case.

3280 * UNUSUAL BRITISH PRACTICE TELEGRAPH KEY WITH TWO KNOBS: This little practice key has two knobs perhaps to allow different styles of sending. The Morse Code is imprinted on top.

3300 * GARDINER-LEVERING AUTOMATIC ROBOT KEY:(13KB) This tiny unit measuring 3"x4"x4" punches holes in a paper tape using two telegraph-key-like levers. One moves the tape forward and the other punches the holes. The tape may then be sent at a later time.



3308 * ATCO AUTOMATIC MORSE CODE SENDER: This tiny unit was used to automatically send morse code by reading the holes punched into a paper tape. It was used primarily for code practice and appears to be a more modern version of the number 3070 Instructograph. The photograph was sent to me by another collector.

3310 * BUD SIDESWIPER & RADIO-ENERGIZED CODE PRACTICE SET:(30KB)This exceptionally unusual code practice set was made and sold by BUD Radio of Chicago in the 1930's. This example is the first I have seen and it came with the original box and instruction sheet.
The set consists of a very tiny sideswiper key made from a knife switch and mounted on an AC Outlet cover plate which is in turn mounted on a bakelite AC junction box. The instructions discuss the design of the key and how it can be used in two ways (see below). The set comes with a set of 4 very interesting under-tube connection taps which are put under the tubes of a radio. When the key is closed, an internal .015MFD-400V condenser is switched into the circuit causing the radio to go into oscillation and producing a code practice tone from the loudspeaker of the radio. The instructions read as follows:
BUD CODE PRACTICE SET With Double Action Key that attaches to Radio Set. Number 223. Price: $ 1.50. Since the latest receivers incorporate both long and short waves, the BUD CODE PRACTICE SET will help you decipher the many interesting and mysterious code messages which are being transmitted on short waves and is an entirely new field of entertainment.
OPERATING INSTRUCTIONS: Remove Power Tubes from set, and insert Adapters, which are extended from Code Practice Set, underneath each of the Power Tubes. If power tubes have four (4) prongs, use four prong Adapters. If Power Tubes have five (5) prongs, use five prong Adapters. Be sure the white lettering is UP. If your radio does not have two Power Tubes, then place either a four or five prong adapter underneath the one (1) Power Tube and place the other four or five prong Adapter under the Detector Tube or First Audio Tube. Try both to see which gives the best results. Then, press key, and if properly installed, a loud clear note will come from the radio speaker.
The double-action key makes possible the operation of BUD CODE PRACTICE SET same as used by up to date amateurs in transmitting, and if Code Practice Key is turned to the side, it can be used as a straight key.

3310a Closeup of the BUD Sideswiper key:(40KB)

3310b A view of the inside of the set:(41KB)

3310c Closeup of the label on the box:(24KB)

3310d The instruction sheet page 1:(76KB)

3310e The instruction sheet page 2:(64KB)

3315 * PHILMORE EARLY METAL TELEGRAPH PRACTICE SET Model TC-50: This Philmore Practice Set is shown with its official looking military message book and original box. It was widely used for self-practice in the time shortly after WW-2 as indicated by the surplus WW-2 British WT-8A key that was supplied with the set.

3320 * EARLY METAL TOY "FLERON" TELEGRAPH PRACTICE SET:(43KB)This is the hard-to-find early metal version of the popular plastic Fleron telegraph practice sets which were widely distributed for help in learning the Morse code and which are shown in number 3322 below. The key lever shape and spring on this device are quite unique. The spring is the small flat strap on top of the lever and the spring tension is adjusted by changing the tension on the strap by turning the screw which passes through it. The label carries the International Morse Code and indicates that it was manufactured by: M. M. Fleron and Son, Inc. of Trenton, NJ. USA.

3322 * PLASTIC TOY BOXED "FLERON SIGNALER":(19KB) These code practice sets were widely used by many groups teaching the morse code including the ''Boy Scouts''. They were also sold as toys. This one is new in its original box. It is made of brown plastic and includes a simple strap key, buzzer, light, and listing of the International Morse Code. It uses 2 "D" cells. The original instruction booklet was also found in the box.

3332 * TOY "WESTERN UNION STANDARD RADIO TELEGRAPH SIGNAL SET":(19KB) This blue painted toy set has the International Morse Code printed on the front and a simple strap key, light, and internal buzzer. It uses 2 standard "D" batteries.

3335 * ANOTHER TOY "WESTERN UNION STANDARD RADIO TELEGRAPH SIGNAL SET":(19KB) This blue painted toy set has the International Morse Code printed on the front and a simple strap key, light, and internal buzzer. It uses 2 standard "D" batteries.

3335a * The Inside of the TOY "Western Union Telegraph Set":

3360 * TOY PLASTIC RADIO TELEGRAPH SIGNAL KEY:(13KB) This gray plastic toy telegraph key was part of a toy communication set manufactured by Remco.

3380 TOY WOODEN TELEGRAPH KEY:(27KB) This is a very simple but effective toy telegraph key and its bright red color makes it quite attractive.

3380a Another view of the TOY KEY:(27KB)

3410 * UNUSUAL BOXED KEY AND BUZZER PRACTICE SET:(17KB) This set has one of the most unusual telegraph keys that I have ever seen. There are no identification marks so it is not possible to determine who manufactured it.->K5VT

3410a A view of the unusual telegraph key:(24KB)

3410b A different view of the unusual key:(23KB)

3410c A view of the box with the cover closed:(20KB)

3475 * TOY "TWIN NAVY BLINKER CODE LITE":(28KB) Two signal lights are included in this original-boxed set made by Hasbro. Each lite is a plastic "gun" which has a compass in its handle and accepts one "D" cell to flash its 1-1/2 volt bulb. When the trigger is pressed triple shutters in front of the bulb open at the same time that the bulb goes on. Traded to Wyn Davies.

3475b A view inside the original box:(24KB)

3475b A view of the two signal lights:(15KB)


Professor Tom Perera
Montclair State University

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