Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Swedish Morse Key - Torsion Bar Straight Key - Refurb

Continuing my scouring of the Morse key market on Ebay... I had the good  fortune to win a Swedish Key, from an Ebay seller in France.

  Generally referred to as "Swedish Pump Key".. I feel that this is an insult to the designer, and to the manufacturers of these very fine keys.

  The workmanship is superb, and the key I have is a delight to use, now it has been refurbished.

 It is not a "conventional" design... the spring plate on the pivot point on the rocker arm, constitutes a "torsion" type spring, and this can be adjusted with the adjuster knob on the centre of the rocker arm...

 at the far end, there is a spring steel "tongue" which tends to "soften" the action, and this is also where the gap is adjusted.  The lower knurled nut, is so that the operator can set the "stop" or "rest" level of the rocker, when there is no tension in the torsion bar,.. and the upper adjuster then controls the gap.

As with almost all my keys, I have added in my special "spark guard" underneath the knob, as that is where I use the key for sending.  ( see movie at the end of the  blog )..

When I saw it on Ebay, it looked dirty and unloved, and was secured to an odd piece of packing case with a rubber stamp mark on it, saying  "Fabrique en Gabon"....  ( which, was in what was known as French West Africa ).. I am assuming it was part of a tea chest, and the owner of the key just cut up a piece to fit the morse key on to it, to give it a longer  "footprint".

Swedish Key - As received...
  As can bee seen, the key was in a pretty dirty state, when it arrived.  and so I started to take it to pieces, and proceeded to wash it in hot soapy water... , this proved very effective, and was not detrimental to the "finish" of the morse key.

Showing the rocker arm removed from the Torsion Bar pivot point.

Showing the parts of the "torsion bar" before cleaning.

I was intrigued by the label, and the letters ABA,

Registration numbers stamped into the bakelite base

.. strangely the label numbers do not coincide with the numbers stamped on the bottom right corner of the bakelite base.

  However, I passed on a few pics to my friend Guy, in Germany, who had done some marvellous detective work on a previous key.. ( the German Klopfertaste M99 ). within a few hours he had sent me an email, informing me that the key came from the Swedish Airlines, dating about 1945. the company initials were ABA... the colour of their logo changed from time to time, and the colour green seems to have been used for a very short period, around 1945. As the key was bought from a French seller, it is assumed that it was originally used in one of the French offices of the Swedish Airline, to communicate information between France and Sweden, regarding aircraft details/flight information/passenger and baggage information, etc.

Once all the parts had been removed,

 and washed,. It was a reasonably easy task to put them back together again,.. The contact point on the far end of the rocker needed some slight attention from a fine file, to make the surface clean and flat again,... and then the bottom of the gap adjuster screw, also had some attention, using a strip of wet and dry paper, being pulled through several times, to ensure the surface was clean and also parallel to the contact point on the rocker arm.

To finish off, I returned to Ebay, and sourced a nice Mahogany plinth to mount the key on, and then fitted a thin sponge (washing up sponge sheet cut to size ! )  underneath so that the key would not move across the desk top when in use.

Summing up, this key is superior in quality and feel when in use, compared to the "similar design" of the N.A.T.O. key with the chrome cover, that I already have. The N.A.T.O. key would have been made "to a price" whereas, I think, this key was made to provide a quality piece of equipment for the Swedish Airline Operators. Unfortunately, I cannot find any information about the maker`s name on the Torsion Bar piece...   Erik Torngren      Stockholm.   If anyone reading this, has any knowledge, they can add, then I would appreciate an email, or mention in the comments box.

Here is a short Video of me sending a test message.   Turn on your speakers, and click  the [ ] bottom right to full screen.

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