Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Get a grip

The Navy Knob exposed

One of the more popular CW straight keys in the venerable Navy Flame Proof.  You grip this key using its Navy style knob.  The "navy style" is tallish and rounded on top, usually with a skirt underneath.  I demonstrate the "grip" used for the Navy style key in an earlier post.

But what's this old knob made from?  Compressed horse hair and tar?

Navy Flame Proof Key contains "fillers" in the bakelite material
As I photographed the key I noticed that up-close the knob of my old service key appears to contain fibrous material and it got me wondering about what material they used to make these knobs...

This knob is made of Bakelite

Bakelite is interesting stuff.  It was one of the first commercially successful "plastics" developed by the Belgian-American chemist Leo Baekeland in Yonkers, New York in 1907.  Leo incorporated "filler" materials in bakelite to give it strength.  

All sorts of ground up stuff went into bakelite including asbestos.  

So maybe my "Flame Proof" key really IS flame proof...

Bakelite factory

On the other "hand",  here's the Kent Hand Key knob for comparison...

Kent Hand Key up-close-and-personal

That's all for now...

So lower your power and raise your expectations

Richard AA4OO

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