McElroy Morse Code Keys.

063... A McElroy Bug. 1936(A) with the type 1 pivot (as described by McElroy expert Tom French, W1IMQ) which is cast metal. This one has an aluminium nameplate reading "T.R.McElroy's MAC 7819 KEY" "PAT. APPL'D FOR". Cast on the underside of the base is "SEMI-AUMC TGH & RDO CODE XTR MAC 9-34 KEY MFD AJD & GA BY T R McELROY WLDS FASTEST RDO TGHR BOSTON MASS". (That is short for "Semi-Automatic Telegraph and Radio Code Transmitter Mac Key Manufactured Adjusted and Guaranteed By T.R. McElroy Worlds Fastest Radio Telegrapher Boston Massachusetts).

064.... A McElroy Bug. 1936(B) with Tom French W1IMQ designated type 2 pivot. The same base and damper as the previous key, but with a pivot assembled from steel bar bent in a wide U shape. Another slight difference is the contact connecting bar is a little thicker.

065..... A 1937 McElroy Bug key still with the type 2 pivot, but with the large cast damper support mechanism. Note the different shape contact assembly arm. On the side is cast "PROPERTY OF" (and a space where "US NAVY" has been ground off).

A wonderful four page flyer typed and signed front and back by TED MAC. Kindly presented to me by Steve Marsh / G4BWG, this amazing find is dated August 3'rd 1937. The picture in the middle is by an old time telegrapher, George Haseltine, and in the centre is printed "What hath God Wrought? 1791 ( the word MORSE in American morse) 1872 and a bust of Samuel Morse.
Written around the circle of names is "For thee, O Morse, a name, That evermore, throughout all time shall stand; The burden of thy gifts on scrolls of fame, Shall live forever, and in every land."

Along the bottom ( Ted - refering to the picture) is typed: "I've been all my life as a radio telegraph operator and this is the finest piece of work I've ever seen, describing the real old timers of the business. I hope you like it. 73s, (signed) TED MAC"

066..... A 1938 McElroy Mac-Key now with the type 3 pivot. This pivot is the "bent lug" type that was used by all other bug manufacturers, and was introduced by Vibroplex in 1923. (Thanks again to Tom French W1IMQ).

067..... A 1938 / 1939 (?) McElroy Mac-Key Deluxe Model. This could be an early 1939 model. It sports marble effect paintwork, a shorting lever, a small dot spring damping mechanism but does not have the widened pillars and the dot-lever spring adjustment screw of the 1939 bug.

068..... A 1940 McElroy Mac-Key model 600. A Deluxe model in Marble effect paint, also with the wider posts and the dot-lever spring adjustment screw mechanism. Metal nameplates are changed to stick on decals. One on top of the T bar frame and one on the base (missing on this key).

069..... A 1941 McElroy Mac-Key model P-500 (the Professional Model). A change of design for this key, with a seperate cast base and frame very like many other makers of the time. Mechanically its frame and levers are set like a Vibroplex bug. (See the marvelous book "McELROY. World's Champion Radio Telegrapher" By TOM FRENCH).

070..... A 1941 McElroy Mac-Key model S-600 Super Stream Speed. A beautifuly shaped key in all-chrome, with three holes in the base for mounting and a "MAC" nameplate. The entire main arm with spring has either been re-chromed or is a replacement. If you look closely it is much shinier and newer looking than the rest of the key !

070b..... The model S-600 Super Stream Speed bug below is one that was manufactured without mounting holes or a label.

An Early 1937 McElroy Straight Key.

The Mac Straight Key. The first of his straight key designs and made in about 1937. I have seen an original advert in an old radio magazine featuring these keys for sale in the USA. The three holes at the back of the base are for an optional buzzer or Hummer, that ran off two 1.5 volt batteries to make a practise set. The base is heavy cast iron.

Part of page four of the incredible "Ted Mac" flyer.

It States: MAC STRAIGHT KEY $1.50

"The best way of describing the thing is to tell you that Jack Mullen, formerly NCO for the WU in Boston and holder of the Carnegie medal for straight key sending, told me after using it that it was the finest balanced and handling straight key he'd ever used. If anyone can know, Jack ought to know. On a heavy cast base not to be screwed to the table. You place it where you want it".


"A mechanical 1000 cycle oscillator operating on 3 to 4 1/2 volts. Gives a swell pure note. I know that the fellows will want this because the only way to get any decent note for practise is with an oscillator and for a beginner my $4.50 AC/DC tube oscillator is a bit too much money. Use headset with my HUM. Sells for 1.50. So you see the picture of the complete set $2.95. Okay?"

McElroy Stream Key #100 (Amateur Model).

Initially (1937) Theodore R. McElroy straight keys were made in a rectangular shape, and from 1938 in the well known Teardrop shape seen here. Quite a small key with an over all measurement of 5" by 2 1/2" (127mm by 64mm). Many fakes were made of these keys and the best way to tell a fake is to see whether the base is attracted by a magnet. If the base is magnetic, then it is a genuine McElroy Stream Key, if it's not magnetic, then it is a fake.