Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Signalling Equipment F-17 Morse Key Information

I have just received some very interesting historical information, about one of the keys in my collection.  The Signalling Equipment F-17... see this blog about it`s restoration...

For the benefit of researchers and those who maybe interested in the history, because they have one of these keys.. I am putting it on my blog as a separate item... ( I shall also incorporate it into the original blog to give more interest to the story )...

The following information was provided by Tony/G4FAI.... who had seen my collection of Morse Keys on my Flickr page...

On that picture, I have "guessed" the key was made about 1950... but it could well have been made much earlier, during World War II... 1939 - 1945. My key has the label Signalling Equipment on one end... and according to the information below, that was before 1946...


I was interested in your Signalling Equipment F-17 as I wrote an article about the Morse products of that company for Morsum Magnificat some 23 years ago. I thought you might be interested in some of the details relating to your key.

It started with the photo of an “unknown” key in one issue followed by two letters in the next issue.
The first said it was a GPO single current key type F17 and that the cast base was copper-plated. 
The second writer said that he had used one of these keys in an Admiralty Wireless station in South West Tower, Admiralty. The key was  embossed with an Admiralty Pattern No.
My article, based on info from someone who had written a history of the company’s products describes it as a Commercial Key, open type frame, Diecast construction, Black and nickel finish, Silver contacts. Export code 279/DC/163/16. 
The same key was noted by another reader on a wooden base with a send/receive switch. It clearly had several lives. 
Signalling Equipment Ltd was bombed out of its premises in Old Street London in 1940 and moved to Potters Bar Middx where they produced Morse equipment for the war effort in various small vacant properties. They made keys, practice sets, buzzers and headphones. 
Some time before 1946 they became S.E.L.
 They later changed their name to J. Randall (Toys and Games) and later Merit.
 Among their toy products they continued making Morse practice sets, mainly for children.
Thanks, Tony..  
I have had a contact in Australia, who referst to the F-17 key with the export code number as the "type" number.. so it was obviously sent out there for use by the Australian Services. 

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