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Posted By: Chuck Lee on: 06/13/2002 18:30:32 CDT
Subject: Telegraph Sets

Message Detail:
Telegraph sets - where can I get plans (with actual dimensions) and / or drawings?

Not for the Museum of the Confederacy type - the Pocket Telegraph Set. I want to make a different kind.

Let me quickly say here that I have no intention of competing with Dave Harbin (as if I I'm a good enough woodworker to know that I'm not going to live long enough to make as nice a telegraph set as he did with his Pocket Telegraph sets - those are real works of art.

But I'm not too bad a metal caster, and I'd really like to take a stab at making a camelback telegraph key, and see what I could do with that. I haven't had any luck recently in landing one through ebay - they're pretty scarce - but I can make one from wood or clay or metal if I have dimensioned plans, and I can sure cast 'em.

Any thoughts on where I can beg, borrow, or... beg or borrow one to copy? Walt had mentioned that Louisiana State University (14 miles from my house, and where my middle son is a sophomore) actually has a collection of telegraph keys - early stuff, too - but I neglected to ask him who I should contact (what department - was it Technology or was it the library, or..?). If I can make a mold, I can cast the keys within a month or so, once my other casting projects are caught up (which includes two different signal pistols: an 1861 Navy and an 1862 Army; an artilleryman's ring dating to 1857; a shield-shaped identification badge that Walt recommended to me, along with some other identification tags or discs, both Federal and Confederate; drum rope connectors from a drum dated 1859; and a "adapted mouthpiece", or "cheater", that allows someone to play the fife or flute without having to learn the proper embrouchure, using instead the same technique as with a tinwhistle - meaning, he can puff or blow instead of having to learn to purse and position lips and then breathe across an air hole).

So I'm figuring late July, probably, before I can cast and assemble a station-type telegraph set (please tell me how to express the sort of set that I'm struggling to describe, to distinguish from the Pocket Telegraph Set that Mr. Harbin makes).

If you have any suggestions, I am absolutely open to them.

Chuck Lee

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