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Les Logan Speed-X model 515. The key featured on this page is a right handed key. The Les Logan Speed-X model 515 has a Vibroplex original style frame. The base measures 3" by 6 1/4" and has a black wrinkle finish on it and the frame. The 515 does not have a circuit closer. The dot spring and stop are on seperate screws, Vibroplex style while other Speed-X models will have these functions on one screw. The damper is a wheel and post Electro-Bug style.

This example of the Speed-X model 515 appears to be unused. The paddles, contacts and bearings have no wear. Plus neither of the two contacts on the base have been adjusted. Both were left loose and pointed away from the contacts on the arm. Is this the way the company sent out new keys? Is this practice still followed today? It appears that this key has sat in its original box for many years. It is very clean.


A left handed version known as the model 515L and the only one known to exist can be seen 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.


These next set of pictures show the Les Logan identification tag. Notice that there is no serial number on the tag which indicates that this key was produced late in the company's 10 year history. In the picture on the right we can see the damper is a wheel and post Electro-Bug style.  Notice how the arm is on the opposite side of the post compared to a left hand version which can be seen HERE .



As with the identification tag the box also has no serial number on it for the key.

The paddles on Les Logan keys will have two circles found on them as seen in the pictures above. In the picture on the right notice how the contact on the base does not line up with the contact on the arm(forward of the paddle). The base contact is loose and appears to have never been adjusted. Is this how the Les Logan company shipped out their keys?


The picture on the right is of the bottom of the key. Please take notice of the four(4) rubber feet on the bottom of the base. While at first this may seem like a good idea but in actual use it is not. Many Vibroplex keys are found with three(3) feet on the bottom. The reason why three feet are better than four is because if one of the feet is at a different height from the rest the key will wobble on a desk. With three feet the key will always sit stable when in use.



The above picture of the original box is from the ebay seller when I purchased this key.  Sadly the box suffered some shipping damage which I have attempted to repair using Elmer's glue. Some of the damage can be seen in the picture on the right below.



The picture on the left is of the end of the original box. Notice that the box is not marked with a serial number. The latter keys had none. Does anyone know if the earlier boxes which contained keys that had serial numbers were marked with a serial number on it?

The picture on the right shows the inside of both the top and bottom pieces of the box. Notice the fastening mechanism used on each end of the box.




Tom Perera's(W1TP) Telegraph Collectors Guidebook 

Tom Perera's(W1TP) Telegraph Collectors CD-ROM

Morsum Magnificant Number 44 February 1996

The Vail Correspondent No.5 October 1993 




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