1945 Left-Handed Vibroplex Deluxe Original Telegraph Key
Vibroplex key is unusual for several reasons. It is the "Original"
model, which was first introduced in 1905, and is still in production a
century later. This one was made early in 1945, prior to the end
of WW-II. It is the "deluxe" model, which had jeweled bearings for
the operating lever and red Catalin paddle and knobs. The base
would normally have been chrome plated, but due to wartime shortages, a
gray crackle painted finish was substituted. The standard model in
this era had a black crackle painted base. Not long after this key
was produced, the shape of the castings was revised to give a more
rounded appearance, and the adjustment screw for the top bearing was
What is really unique is that this is a left-handed key, a mirror image of the standard model. Most Vibroplex keys produce dots when the lever is moved to the right, and dashes when it is moved to the left. The "leftie" produces dots to the left, and dashes to the right. The last photograph shows it with a 1944 right-handed key.
The left-handed option was (and still is) only available for the Original model, and has always been a special-order item at additional cost. Consequently, it is quite a rare item.