Toy Telegraph Sets
There are many different kinds of toy telegraph sets made for
youngsters. Most of them function with batteries and flashing lights or a
buzzer. Many of them have a Morse code chart included either on the unit
or in the instructions. Some of them were made for the Boy Scouts of
America to be used in conjunction with the merit badge program.
This is a crude pair of strap key and sounder on black bases. They
were built for simplicity, ease of construction and low cost. Yet they
function. They were patented in 1915 by Newman.
This is the "Star Signal Set." The box says it is "a complete sending
and receiving unit; telegraph, night-blinker and wireless buzzer with
Morse code." It was manufactured by the Pentoy Company with addresses
in Philadelphia, PA and New York, NY.
This brown strap key unit is the "Official Boy Scout Signal Set." It
was made by the Boy Scouts of America National Supply Service Division, with
addresses in New Brunswick, NJ., Chicago, IL., and San Francisco, CA. It
carries the Boy Scouts of America National Council Insignia and has the
Morse code printed on top of the unit and in the instruction manual. It
sold for $1.95 including batteries.
DC, AC, and Rectification
Direct current is current that flows in only one direction. Alternating current is current
that cyclically reverses direction of flow. Two reversals make a cycle. Changing the amplitude means
changing its intensity or magnitude. Changing the frequency changes the rate of the cycle.
A rectifier is a device that converts AC to DC. Some rectifiers work during the entire cycle
of an AC current, and they are called Full-wave rectifiers. Others work only during half
the cycle, and they are called Half-wave rectifiers. The rectified current isn't a steady
DC current, but still fluctuates with what is called Ripple.
This is the "Official Boy Scout Triple-Signal Set" by the John P.
Ryan Company of Philadelphia, PA. It also carries the National Council
Insignia. It is very similar to the Pentoy set in construction.
The common Fleron signaler looks nearly identical to the unit made by
the BSA National Supply Service Division. The Fleron signaler was made
by M.M. Fleron and Son, Trenton, N.J. and has the Nation Council Insignia.
The case is bakelite.
The Brumberger Official Codemaster Radio-Telegraph Signal Set would
buzz, flash or click with code. It looked similar in design to the Fleron
signaler and the National Supply Service Division units. It came in a
bright red box with the two units and connecting wires inside. Brumberger
was located in Brooklyn, NY.
The blue Western Union standard radio telegraph signal sets seem to be
everywhere and are recognized by most people. It was a battery operated
set with the Morse code inscribed on top of the raised portion of the
Perhaps it's a sign of the times (progress?) that Teenage Mutant Ninja
Turtles and Power Rangers have replaced toy telegraph units on store shelves
in recent times...
An Easy Crystal Radio Set
Build a Radio that Works with No Battery!
Here is an easy AM Broadcast Crystal Radio Set you can build in a half hour for about $3, and all the
parts are available from Radio Shack. All you need is a 1N34 germanium diode, a 47K resistor,
50 feet of insulated #22 or #24 wire, an earplug, and a good ground and wire antenna. This kind of set
used to be built on a Quaker Oats box, but I've modernized it here to a 2 liter (empty!)
plastic soft drink bottle. The instructions state that you need to use a special high
impedance earplug. But any regular old cheap earplug will do as long as you have a fairly
good antenna and ground. The signal is plenty loud enough using a regular earplug and the
antenna clip attached to half of a 160 meter dipole (120 feet of copper wire), though
it would be louder yet with the recommended earplug.
Click the "Plans" button to go to the Xtal Set Society website where the detailed plans
and an explanation of how the set works can be found and have
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