Telegraph Key Clean and Polish Price:
Vibroplex or similar Bug - $50
Other Type of Key - Contact Me
Plus parts and return shipping.
I can clean, polish and repair your Vibroplex and other similar type of telegraph "bug" keys.
My service includes:
I restore Vibroplex and other telegraph keys to the best they can be for their age and condition. I can restore a key up to the point of repainting and replating. I do not at this time offer painting and plating of keys.
All the keys you see listed here on my site have received this treatment so you will see examples of what can be accomplished.
I keep the key as original as possible and I do not try to conceal surface imperfections such as missing plating, pitting or lost paint.
All keys are returned to fully operational condition.
Some take a little more effort if they are in rough shape. The arbor that supports the pendulum arm is pressed out and reconditioned on a lathe. The ends get resurfaced to remove the groves and defects from years of use and pitting from rust. Other similar things are done to bring the action of the bug back to working condition.
In some cases replacement insulators are used where the original bakelite has deteriorated to dust or cracked beyond repair.
I charge a flat fee and everything is included in that price except for any replacement parts that might be needed and shipping costs.
If parts are needed I will discuss with your options for repairing and/or replacing the broken or missing parts before any additional costs are added.
Cleaning up an old bug is fairly straight forward:
I use a variety of polishes, cleaners and other materials commonly used in the clock trade to clean up the bugs. The methods I use are mostly based on clock repair techniques. These techniques are well known and established methods and do very well cleaning up the metals and plastics found on keys.
Vibroplex Champion before cleaning.
After cleaning. Parts can be cleaned and restored with good results. While this key is not too old, it is still in need of cleaning.
Vibroplex still makes and sells parts for keys made after WWII. Getting parts for earlier models is not as easy but Vibroplex still has some of those too.
Sometimes it's a matter or practicality so you can use the bug until a better replacement comes along.
Parts can be made as well. Some items like mainsprings and just about all metal parts can be fabricated or fitted in from a doner key.
The nickle or chrome is cleaned and polished. Sometimes the underplating is visible where the original plating has worn through or flaked off. It is important to clean the metal without taking more plating off the key.
The base is cleaned and protected. The original Japaned finish is stll on the key along with what remains of the gold pinstripping. Time has removed a lot of the stripes so preserving what remains is important.
A complete repainting and replating of the key would be the next step in restoration. I plan to do that in the future for keys that are really bad off but for now I am leaving everything original even if not asthetically pleasing.
More to come as time permits.
When they get to this condition the decision gets easier.