Extremely rare left hand version of the Les Logan Speed-X Professional model 501. The model number of this key is 501-L. As far as I know this is the only known example of the Les Logan Speed-X Professional Model 501-L in existence. If you have one, know of one, or can provide any additional information please me.
The Les Logan Speed-X Professional model 501 came with either a chrome or battleship gray base. During WWII chrome was a restricted metal which brought about the battleship gray base. After WWII the Logan company continued to use the gray base. There is not a standard(gray base) version and a deluxe(chrome) base version. All 501 models are considered the Professional model. The Model 500 is the standard model which has 1/8” contacts and a black wrinkle finish base. The Professional model 501 comes equipped with 1/4" contacts which are replaceable. Although finding contacts today, 70+ years later might be an issue.
The Les Logan models 500 and 501 are very similar to the Electro Bug from the late 1920's. Many collectors feel that the Electro Mfg was the predecessor to the Speed-X bugs. The reason being is not only a similarity in style but also that of manufacturing locations. Electro Mfg first appeared in Fresno CA in mid 1927. Shortly thereafter they were located in San Francisco CA. which is where Les Logan produced his bugs.
The Les Logan Speed-X model 501 base measures 3 1/2" by 6 1/4". The 501 incorporates a circuit closer in its design which is located under the paddles. The damper is a wheel and post Electro-Bug style. The replaceable contacts are 1/4" in size. The base will have 2 pre-drilled holes for attaching the key to a desktop.
The key is shown here in the exact condition that I received it save for blowing off some dust. I have made no attempt to clean or polish it.
The only known example of a left hand Les Logan Speed-X model 515-L is located on this site HERE .
Leslie(Les) Logan’s Speed-X keys were made from 1937 to 1947.
The Les Logan company began in California in 1937 when Mr. Logan purchased a part of the Speed-X Radio Manufacturing Company from Stewart Johnson. The two became partners with Mr. Logan being the salesman. Before long Mr. Logan bought out Mr. Johnson interests in the company and changed the name from Speed-X Radio Manufacturing Company to Speed-X Manufacturing Company. Mr. Logan removed the word “Radio” from the company name. Logan then got to work and made some changes to the keys. Among those was the addition of an identification tag which contained his name along with the model & serial number of the key, pot/cast metal base, different bearing support frames, 2 paddles vs a knob and paddle. Early examples of Les Logan keys will be found with a serial number such as "T 9". Mr. Logan produced several different keys to include the model 500, 501(nickel-plated version of the Model 500), 510(nicknamed "pocket key" due to its light weight), and the 515(Logan's big seller and very popular). Mr. Logan did not stop there. He added or more correctly stated reintroduced a "T" handle to the model 500 and 501 which allowed the operator to turn the key on its side so that it behaved more like a traditional straight key. It should be noted that this T handle was absent from the keys that the Speed-X Radio Manufacturing Company built while under Stewart Johnson’s control and prior to Mr. Logan buying him out in 1937. Logan also employed many of his family members while he owned the company. Les Logan ended up selling the company in 1947 to the E.F. Johnson company.
According to “The Vail Correspondent” No.5 October 1993 the first Les Logan Company ad for Speed-X instruments appeared in the September 1937 issue of QST and by October 1947 the new owner E.F. Johnson was touting its keys to hams in QST magazines.
The Morsum Magnificent Number 44 from February 1996 has an excellent article by Lynn Burlingame(N7CFO) about the history of Les Logan and his company. This information was provided by Betty who was Les Logan's last surviving child in 1996.