These next pictures show the J-37 key removed from the J-47 base.
The good ole J-37 key served with the U.S. military during WWII, the Korean War, and through-out the Vietnam era. The J-37 key was the real workhorse during those years and carried the bulk of the action. The J-37 key has been built into many numerous and different configurations with the addition of different bases. One of these different styles is the J-47 in the pictures above. Where does the J-37 name come from? Well, it was the U. S. Signal Corps that assigned their telegraph keys with the letter "J" and then a number. The J-37 key's were made by several different manufacture's. Unlike the J-37 key which uses a leaf spring, the J-38 employs a coil spring to return the arm after it has been depressed. According to The Vail Correspondent #5 January 1993: It should be noted that the J-37 did come with its own unmarked base(Signal Corps. stock number 3Z3437-1). This base is cut away on the sides and shaped like the letter "I". It originally came with the AN/GSC-TI portable code training set which had 10 keys each in their own slot. Each key came with a 10 foot cord which was wrapped around the base(the reason for the cut away sides on the base) for storage as seen HERE .
Where does the J-37 name come from?
Well, it was the U. S. Signal Corps that assigned their telegraph keys with the letter "J" and then a number. This practice started during the WWI era and ended in the 1950's. According to The Vail Correspondent #4 July 1993, they note that the J-number keys range from 1 to 51. Excluded in that list are the J-8, J-9, J-13, J-39, J-42, J-49, and J-50. According to the book J-Series Telegraph keys of the US Army Signal Corps by Larry Nutting he states that J-49 seems to be an AC motor driven “Automatic Keyer” used with the BC-751. And he notes that J-13 and J-39 appear in a 1946 Signal Corps listing of type-numbered items, but that further information is unavailable.
The J-37 key in any of its configurations is a fun key to use. It is lightweight, portable and simply stated, as tough as nails. The J-37 key incorporates a leaf spring design that many folks find a pleasure to operate. Some believe that this leaf spring design gives the operator a smoother feel of the key over that of a coil spring design such as the J-38 key. The mechanical characteristics of the leaf spring, to some CW aficionados can not compare to those of the coiled spring design, even when modern keys such as a recently manufactured Nye Viking Speed-X CW key is used.
To view a J-37 key on a J-37 base please visit HERE .
To view a J-37 key configured as a J-45(leg band assembly) please visit HERE .