Dating a vibroplex
The former and new owners say thank you to the Amateur Radio community for more than 40 years of Inrad business.
I received an email thanking me for this animation.
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Vibroplex LLC of Knoxville, TN announces the acquisition of International Radio Corporation of Aptos, CA. International Radio, commonly referred to as “Inrad”, is the leading manufacturer of aftermarket and OEM crystal filters for Amateur Radio transceivers and receivers with some 250 different models currently available for present day equipment and obsolete gear dating as far back as the 1950’s.
Inrad is presently the OEM roofing filter supplier for the popular Elecraft K3/K3S series of HF transceivers.
More images of these keys are available in the Photo Gallery. This is NOT an all-inclusive list of keys in my collection. Nickel plating worn, as is usualy on a key that’s earned a living. NOTE: This key has an original “bug logo” decal on the base applied on the base just under the rearward arms of the frame directly under keying lever midline.
Other hardware wasn’t stripped of paint, but simply cleaned. Note: This was the second or third key I purchased on e Bay.
It arrived missing some parts: finger & thumb piece; damper wheel; upper trunnion lock nut; circuit closers; contact straps; one terminal assembly. I need to use a wire to run from the terminal up to dash post. 83,230 – 1921 Vibroplex Originalmodified base, painted hardware brass and gold. Several applications of Naval Jelly required to clean it. This key looks like its been in an attic for 50 years. I can see vestiges of the gold pinstriping beneath the crud. Bright parts in good shape, works well, good action.
I didn’t realize until it arrived that it was a Junior. Key was disassembled, and the base de-rusted with Naval Jelly, revealing machined-turned decorative base. The grime on this key is heavy, even the chrome parts have a thick patina of whatever-the-heck this stuff is. Arrived with no weights; has large unused hole in the base, and has the old style pinned dash lever.
An interesting bit of Vibroplex history as the colored base keys are fairly rare; not many survived this time in the company’s history when Vibroplex bugs mostly worked for a living and the amateur only dreamed of owning one. Note: I have used the relay for demonstration purposes and decided not to sell it.
Odd as it might sound, the results have a very nice feel in your hands; obviously the shape of the tape has been molded by many hours of operating. The sticker is faded and worn, but you can see the original color showing — blue — under one part of the edge that crumbled away. Included in this auction was a telegraph relay that I’ll likely list on e Bay and sell.
They were soft rubber but time turned them into hard plastic. The base has apparently been brush painted, but that finish has chips in all corners. $80.99 OTHER DAMAGE: Damper was bent some point in the past, severely. I may simply replace it with one from a similar period bug if I can find one. The base has unique rounded corners, and the ends of the frame where the adjustments are lcoated are also very rounded. It is a rather rare “Improved Vibroplex” key, shown by the unique rounded corners on the base, and the slightly different damper arm hinge.