Camelback Morse telegraph Key

The Camelback Morse key was first introduced around 1848 offering some advantages over the Lever Correspondent key initially used by Morse


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The Camelback or "Humpback" is a type of Morse key that was first introduced in the early days of the Morse telegraph system.

The camelback has a very distinctive shape with a "hump" in the lever of the key and this hump has resulted in it being given its name of a Camelback Morse telegraph key.

Camelback keys or Humpback keys as they wee occasionally called were produced by a variety of companies both in the USA where they were first seen, and a little later in Europe.

Camelback Morse key
A camelback Morse key
This one dates from between 1850 and 1860. It has no adjustment on the spring and therefore dates from before 1860. Note the "hump" in its back that gives it the name.

Story of the Camelback key

The first Camelback Morse telegraph keys were developed after the Lever Correspondent keys which were the first type of key used on the Morse telegraph system and they first appeared around 1848.

The Lever Correspondent keys used by Morse used a leaf spring to keep the key up when it did not need to be depressed. As the leaf spring did not give the best response, the aim of the hump in the Camelback was to shift the weight to the rear of the lever for easier operation. It also gave a more stylish appearance and this may have helped the sales?

The Camelback keys were produced by a variety of telegraph key manufacturers. Thomas Hall was an early manufacturer as was Phelps and others.

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