Bill Holly - K1BH has been collecting telegraph keys for many years. His collection includes significant examples of many types of telegraph keys as well as several complete and authentic wireless stations and an important set of documents and apparatus related to the early transatlantic cables. He specializes in Vibroplex bugs and has written an important book on the history of the Vibroplex Company. It is entitled: The Vibroplex Co., Inc. 1890 to 1990., and may be obtained from the Vibroplex Company., 11 Midtown Park East., Mobile, AL 36606

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  • BILL HOLLY - K1BH Operating his spark station:(46KB)
    Bill has reconstructed this fully functional early wireless station. If you look closely, you will see the spark jumping across the rotary gap in the background.

  • An Overview of part of Bill Holly's collection:(47KB)
    This set of shelves holds some of Bill's collection of bugs and straight keys.

  • Bill Holly's early Chubbock camelback key:(31KB)
    This lovely camelback or humpback key represents one of the earliest telegraph key designs and dates back into the 1850s.

  • Bill Holly's early Phelps camelback key:(21KB)
    This key made by G. M. Phelps was widely used during the Civil War.

  • Bill Holly's Lewis Key: (23KB)
    This key shows the characteristic base and rear pivot that are typical of the Lewis keys.

  • Bill Holly's Steiner Key:(16KB)
    This Steiner key with unusual bulges in the middle shows the simple pivot-less Steiner design. The pivot found in most keys is actually replaced by a flat leaf spring.

  • Bill Holly's Autoplex bug:(24KB)
    The Autoplex bug was invented by Horace Martin and produced around 1904. It used battery voltage to make automatic dots.

  • Bill Holly's Dunduplex bug:(27KB)
    The Dunduplex bug was manufactured around 1911 in an attempt circumvent Martin's patent on the Vibroplex.

  • Bill Holly's Mecograph bug:(45KB)
    This is an early example of the Mecograph in its original box.

  • Bill Holly's Mecograph bug:(27KB)
    Another early example of a Mecograph bug.

  • Bill Holly's Mecograph based Vibroplex model "X" bug:(35KB)
    The Vibroplex Company took over Mecograph and, for a while, manufactured keys that had Vibroplex mechanisms mounted on the Mecograph base. Circa 1914.

  • Bill Holly's Kenco bug:(34KB)
    The Kenco bug was made by the Kenmore Co. of Boston. They were sold by Radio Shack in the 1930's and have an unusual articulated lever arm.

  • Bill Holly's Martin Midget bug:(31KB)
    The Martin Midget is a very scarce key. It was easy to carry around because of the folding leg, lightweight base, and small size.

  • Bill Holly's Vertical Vibroplex bug:(52KB)
    The Vertical Vibroplex is a scarce key which was reportedly designed to take up less space on the operator's table than a standard bug.

  • Bill Holly's Australian bug:(6KB)
    This Australian PMG bug was manufactured around 1936.

  • Bill Holly's United Electric dual lever bug:(42KB)
    This bug carries a Vibroplex, Horace G Martin label that includes the United Electric Mfg Co. name.

  • Bill Holly's Navy Bunnell bug:(35KB)
    This unusual bug manufactured by Bunnell has the Navy identification cast directly into the side of the base.

  • Bill Holly's Unusual Rotoplex bug:(12KB)
    This unusual version of the World War II vintage Rotoplex is very scarce.

  • Bill Holly's Bunnell Wireless Sideswiper key:(31KB)
    This Bunnell Sideswiper was manufactured with a heavy base and large metal contacts to handle the high currents associated with keying high powered spark transmitters.
For more information contact:

Bill Holly - K1BH