When man first started communicating by electric telegraph and Samuel Morse developed his code, the morse code key was the basic mechanism used to send the messages. There were many variations of keys developed over the years, from the basic "straight" keys to semi automatic and automatic keys. All these required a good deal of skill by the operator. It is interesting to note that Alf Traeger of Flying Doctor fame developed an automatic sender for use by totally inexperienced operators. It used a typewriter like keyboard and when the operator pressed the letters it automatically sent the corresponding code.
This photograph is of a replica of an 1853 Prussian model 2 camel back morse key. It was copied using outline drawings from an early source plus dimensions from Fons den Bergen of a similar key made in Holland about the same time. Base and knob are walnut , contacts are silver, and note the leaf return spring which did not provide for any adjustment after assembly.
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