Bunnell Skeleton Steel Lever Key, ca. 1898
High Resoultion Images: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3, Image 4.
This is another scarce Bunnell steel lever 'skeleton' key produced between 1889 and 1906 paired with an Feb 16, 1875 patent Bunnell sounder on an unknown vintage board. The key and sounderhave all original parts except the key is missing one of the terminal post thumb screws (replaced by a brass screw). As with the solid based steel lever key, this pairing of key and sounder on a board was done by some previous user for portable use. This board has an eye hook at the key end to presumably hang up the set when not in use.
If you'd like to read more about the evolution of the 'Triumph' style key, The Evolution of a Triumph by J. Casale, W2NI is a very informative article.
If you're hunting for one of these skeleton keys, here are identifying characteristics:
- Steel lever stamped with patent date of February 15, 1881
- Skeleton base
- "J.H. Bunnell, New York" on left side of frame
- Terminal posts mounted on top of base with fine machine screws
- The holes for screws to attach the key to a board are in line with the trunion posts on the base. The older and harder to find solid base version of this key has the screw holes further inboard.
If you're hunting for one of these sounders, here are identifying characteristics:
- Patent date of February 16, 1875 on the end (away from terminals) of base.
- Solid brass base
- Terminal posts are fancy curved style, indicating pre-1900(ish).
- Spring is mounted between a post and the lower part of the armature.
- "J.H. Bunnell, New York" on side of armature
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