Books about Vibroplexes and the Vibroplex Company

There are many books about telegraphy and the history of the telegraph, and about the telegraph keys themselves, but these two are exclusively about the Vibroplex Co. and its products.

The Vibroplex Collector’s Guide, Third Edition with Supplement, by Tom French, W1IMQ (2006). Available from Artifax Books as a CD in PDF format for $15.00 plus shipping

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This book and Bill Holly’s book are essential for anyone who is interested in Vibroplex bugs and the company that made them. The VCG has been updated several times with new and corrected information, and includes pictures of all the models from the Autoplex to present, descriptions, significant dates, and copies of the Vibroplex patents. The VCG is the single best source of information about Vibroplex keys.

The Vibroplex Co., Inc., by William R. Holly, K1BH (1990), available from The Vibroplex Company for $10.00 plus shipping (a reduced sale price)

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Bill Holly’s book was published in 1990, the 100th anniversary of the first of The Vibroplex Company’s predecessors. This is unquestionably the most beautifully done book on any subject connected with telegraphy or even ham radio. The main focus of the book is on the history of the company itself, but there are plenty of great pictures of the keys, and lots of related information. Some of the information is a bit dated by now, particularly the list of nameplates.


These are some of the best Internet sources of information about telegraph keys and telegraphy in general. Most contain multiple other links on the subject.

  • Telegraph-History – This website by John Casale, W2NI, has a three-part series on Horace G. Martin, an article commemorating the centennial of the Vibroplex Co., and articles on many other topics related to early telegraphy. John is a careful historian, and his writing highlights the colorful people in the field. Highly recommended!
  • The Telegraph Office – An extensive website on the history and technology of telegraphy, with numerous resources and links for collectors and historians. Maintained by Neal McEwen, K5RW.
  • W1TP Telegraph and Scientific Instrument Museum – Tom Perera, W1TP, maintains this site full of images of telegraph equipment and scientific instruments — and trucks this collection around East Coast hamfests!
  • Telegraph Lore – Images and information about landline telegraphy and related subjects. Maintained by Greg Raven, KF5N.
  • The Sparks Telegraph Key Review – Russ Kleinman’s dynamic Web page with lots of Java applets, and images of some very interesting and scarce keys, including a nice spark key section.
  • The Telegrapher Web Page – Maintained by Thomas Jepsen, this web site has extensive research resources for the history of telegraphy and the work of women in the telegraph industry.
  • Dr. James Calvert’s Technology Website – University of Denver Emeritus Professor James Calvert’s website has an extensive section on the electromagnetic telegraph, plus a variety of other science and engineering information.