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Posted By: Walt Mathers on: 05/05/2013 10:24:04 EDT
Subject: RE: 1860's reproduction key needed

Message Detail:

You have caused me to reacquaint myself with Tom McElderry's Artifax Books web offering, for which I extend my appreciation.

Unfortunately I didn't see a lot of spot-on repro instruments that would work for our period of operations.

Most all re-enactors have literally had to resort to lacing or tying 'make-do' instruments into our circuits because we have no repros to hook up. As most who have investigated obtaining correct instruments will attest, originals are almost always out of our price range reach.

That being said, if I had my in-the-re-created-field druthers, I'd want to sport a Clark relay and camel-back key at events. Clark relays were in service since 1859 so they would have, to a degree, been available to both sides during the Late Unpleasantness.

John Emmett O'Brien mentions these and the Caton pocket keys as the ones exclusively used in USMT service throughout the war years. I was surprised to learn that O'Brien never mentions sounders as having ever been used in field service (a place where most re-enacting is committed).

A description of the Clark workings and a wiring diagram will be found on pages 490 and 491 of the updated 1866 edition of Prescott's "History, Theory and Practice of the Electric Telegraph". It is not included in the 1860 edition.

I would, however, highly recommend that the 1860 edition of the work above be included as a link from our main pages if it isn't already (Mark please comment). The URL for the 1860 edition is provided below.

Any thoughts as to how one should proceed in cranking out a run of Clark relays? I know that one of these gems was on display at the Penna. Railroad Museum at Strasburg. My friend Richard Bands no longer haunts their passageways so we'd have to begin anew with contacts at that repository. Anyone game?


Message Link:

1860 Edition of Prescott's Telegraph History
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