Electro-Bug Jr s/n 2935

Electro-Bug Jr.

The Electro-Bug Jr., made by Electro Mfg. Co. of Fresno, California, probably around 1927, for the amateur radio market.


Here’s something a friend showed me and let me photograph. He’s more into clocks than telegraph keys, so asked me to research it. I’d never seen such a thing before, thinking that all “bugs”* were Vibroplexes, but apparently not! At this site I found information that the “Jr” moniker is there because it lacks the electromagnetic assist that the Electro-bugs had. Indeed, as you can see from the photos, it’s just a plain bug.
Electro-Bug Jr.

Electro-Bug Jr. view from right-hand side.


Apparently the Electro company started in Fresno, California, which is surprising as Fresno is still in the middle of nowhere, and back in 1927, Fresno was tiny and not near any major trading crossroads. But they eventually moved to San Francisco. The bug shown in the photos was apparently made in Fresno.
Electro-Bug Jr.

Electro-Bug Jr., closeup of an adjustable spring on the left hand side. The paddles are to the right.


And this site claims that the Electro-Bug Jr. was made for the amateur radio market! And this YouTube video shows one in action! This site shows an Electro-Bug Jr. made in San Francisco in 1928, which then dates the one shown on this post to 1927.
Electro-Bug Jr.

Electro-Bug Jr. nameplate, giving Fresno as the location of manufacture, probably indicating it dates from 1927.


The bug I show in the pictures here is incomplete in that it doesn’t have the adjustable weight needed to create dits. But it’s interesting to look at the connector at the end of the cable—rather unorthodox in today’s world!
Electro-Bug Jr.

Electro-Bug Jr., showing how the cable connects to the bug. The cable has a metal tip, which goes in the hole, and the user tightens the screw to make a good contact.


Following are several photographs that I took today.
Electro-Bug Jr.

Electro-Bug Jr., showing where the other contact connects to the bug, also showing the mechanical connection of the cord to take the strain off the connectors themselves.

 
Electro-Bug Jr.

Electro-Bug Jr. cable connection. Rather unorthodox by today's standards, this is the connector that goes into the radio.

 
Electro-Bug Jr.

Electro-Bug Jr. side view

 
Electro-Bug Jr.

Electro-Bug Jr. bottom, showing serial number

 
Electro-Bug Jr.

Electro-Bug Jr., showing underside of paddle. Note the split paddle. (No, this is not an iambic keyer!)


* A “bug” is a mechanical keyer. Pushing the lever in one direction allows the operator to send “dahs” individually by hand. However, pushing the lever in the other direction creates a series of mechanical “dits.” So (in my mind, at least), it’s half a keyer. An electronic keyer creates “dits” when pushed in one direction and “dahs” when pushed in the other, without having to make each dit or dah individually. Most HF radios these days have electronic keyers built in. On the rare occasions I use CW, I use my beloved Bencher paddle to run the keyer.

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