Thursday, 28 June 2018

G.P.O. PATT 1056A Re-furb

Newbury Radio Rally, on the Newbury Showground, in Berkshire, England, is the only Radio Rally I attend..!  mainly because it makes a nice day out, and there are plenty of "junk" type stalls, with loads of actual radio bits and bobs !.. not too much in the way of computer stuff, so it is always interesting to look around.... I, generally, don`t go there with the intention of actually buying anything, although my interest in old straight morse keys, often is the spur to look closer at the tables to see if one is hidden underneath or at the back amongst unloved other items !...

On Sunday, I was lucky ! ! ! ... about half way around, I spotted a couple of keys, right at the front of the next stall, and made a quick dash ! ! ... one was the very common WT8AMP and the other was one I have been "lusting after" on ebay for a couple of years... The G.P.O.  ( U.K. Post Office ) PATT 1056A.

Historical note..... From research on the internet, it appears that this style of key was made from about 1830 to 1840 and still around in 1900... Probably a couple of manufactureres, one of which is "Walters Electrical Company"... and checking on that company history, it appears they "took over" the original company that made this style of key, in 1908.  As my key has WE8208 moulded into the rocker arm, I would date this key some time around that era... Bearing in mind, the original company, would probably have lots of "stock" parts available at the takeover time, and the "new" company (Walters Electrical) would most likely continue to build the keys with "old stock" before re-designing, at a later date. The key is well engineered, and uses a "unique" tapered pin for the rocker arm pivot point... by slackening the screw on the rocker arm, it is possible to tap gently on the right hand side, to take up some wear that may occur during use, or to "tighten up" the actual pivot rocking motion.

(click the pic for larger view)

As you can see from the pic, it was in a poor state, although some "purists" would have you believe that it should stay that way, for me, it was something that I would love to clean up... and I did ! ! .. I cleaned up with a price of £15.00  (about $20.00 usd)... These keys sell for above £40.00 on ebay.

After purchase, I celebrated with a nice cool Ice Cream Cone, and carried on around the rest of the show, but no other keys caught my eye... and so, we came home "the pretty route" , and then I started work on the "re-furb".

First , I had to remove all the candle wax, from the cavities underneath, so that I could access the brass bolts that held the parts on to the top of the Mahogany base.
 Here is a pic of the base with all parts removed.....

As you can see, it had been "misused" to say the least,.... someone had screwed a small "light bulb holder" near the front left corner, and dented the wood,

 so, I used some very course glass paper, on a flat surface, to remove that depression and at the same time clean up the rest of the dings !.

   Next I dealt with the very rough "countersinked" holes, where the key would have originally been screwed down to the counter at the operating position...

 I used my own countersink, in my electric drill for a minute or so,

 and that was the top surface finished.... a quick rub around on the edges,cleaned the dings from the sides, but the front end looked like it had been "sawn off" by someone who was not very good at woodwork... I got my small tenon saw, and my "square" in position to make sure that the end was finished off "true" and "square"..

.. unfortunately, the person who cut the end off, also cut off the "normal" identificating mark with the number PATT1056A indented.. I cannot replicate that, so I am leaving it "as is".

I did put a coat of varnish on, but was not "impressed" as it was very old stuff, and eventually just gave it several coats of good furniture polish, and buffed it up.

With all the parts lined up on the bench, it just needed my Electric Drill, and a rotary wire brush, to clean up all the brass parts.... leaving them looking like new...

Re-assembling the key, I noticed that the actual contacts were not lined up correctly, so I had to enlarge the holes on the front base ( anvil ) contact to give a little " play " or movement to get them lined up properly, and then screw down tight.

I also noticed, that the Anvil point surface was not " true and square"... it had a distinct slope to one side... which would cause keying problems, when in operation.   To rectify this fault, I placed the anvil in my vice, and found two small brass washers to fit over the contact, and then using them as the "true and square" surface, ran a fine file across until the file was running on the washers, ensuring a proper finish.

Once that had been checked with the set square, it was returned to the base, and lined up with the upper contact, ( rocker or hammer ) which, also needed attention to bring the two contacts into a "face to face" contact... Using some P1200 grit, wet and dry paper, I drew it through the "gap" between the two, with the grit side uppermost, quite a few times, until, when checking against the light, the two faces "matched".

Finally, I had to do a bit of a bodge, on the knob, as it was chipped around the bottom edge.. and I also fitted a "spark guard" disc so that I could use the key in my usual ( unusual ) manner !.  I don`t think it "detracts" too much from the original, as I have seen other PATT 1056A  keys with a spark guard fitted.


All that needed to be done now, was to spray the whole key with some spray on furniture polish to slow down the discolouration...Then cut a piece of washing up sponge cloth for the base,.. . and to set the key up according to my descriptions on another page on here ( how to set up a straight key )..

Wire it up, and then plug it in to the Laptop, and open CWCOM... to let the world know it was back in action after over 100 years.. In use, after some minor tweeks to the adjustments, this key is a delight to use, and becoming one of many "favourites" in my collection ! ! ! .

so.... here is how it was.....

And here it is now..... all together again ! ! ...

 click the pic for larger view

click the pic for larger view.

If you would like to contact me, on CWCOM ( morse over the internet )... check out my other blog

for information about it, download, and settings etc...

Watch the video,.... click on the square for full screen, and turn up the volume ! !

Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

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