Chicago, Illinois – New York, New York
(Click on the pictures to see larger images.)
Lewis Key – 1876
Charles W. Lewis applied for a design (appearance) patent for
this key on April 12, 1875. It was issued on May 25, 1875, as patent
D8,242. The utility (or functional) patent application was
made on January 29, 1876, and patent
was issued on May 23, 1876. You can see the patent dates on the
top of the lever in Image 3.
As you can see in Image 4, the left side of the lever is marked: W.E.M'F'G.Co.
Western Electric Manufacturing Co. became Western Electric Co. in 1881, so the key must date between May, 1876, and 1881.
(There is a variation of this key with the lever pivot at the rear (far) end of the key. It was covered by patent 297,819 on April 29, 1884.)
Double-Rod Key – 1893
Josef Steiner applied for a patent for this key in May, 1893. Patent 509,964 was granted in December of the same year. This key is marked PAT APPL'D FOR on the transverse cylinder of the lever. That leads me to believe the key was made between May and December, 1893.
Leg Key 3-MA
A 1908 leg key made for Western Union. Leg keys were designed with bolts to go through a table. This allowed the wiring to be under the table and out of the way. I'm guessing that this was mostly made by Bunnell for Western Electric for Western Union.
Telegraph Key 1A AT&T
This is an interesting key. The circuit closer is marked WESTERN
ELECTRIC and it looks like most Western Electric circuit
closers. The frame is stamped TELEGRAPH KEY, 1A, AT&T CO.
Here's the kicker: the key is obviously a Bunnell Triumph. I'm guessing (and it's just a guess) that Western Electric outsourced this key from Bunnell and put their own markings on it.
Western Union Legless 2A
Here's another Bunnell Triumph, this one in nickel plate with Western Electric and Western Union livery.