(donated by iz0krc, Claudio)
Maker: Gebr. P and H Caminada, 壮 Gravenhage (Den Haag) Holland.
Hardware: Brass, with a small bit of the original lacquer still left.
Ex owner: Herman Willemsen VK2IXV
A short historical outline of the Caminada family follows below:
1788: Instrument maker Carel Anthonij(Carlo Antonio) Caminada (1757-1828) left his native country Italy and settled in Delft, the Netherlands. He married Dutch woman Geertruide Eijkhoorn. They had one son, Joannes H (Jan) Caminada (1803-1876)
1820: Jan Caminada worked for the Delft instrument maker P Bayers. Like his father, Jan Caminada specialised in the making of barometers and compasses.
1828: Jan Caminada married Joanna Catherina van Brussel and they had 15 children. Four of their sons also became instrument makers.
1842: Jan Caminada started his own business, which folded in 1878.
1856: The eldest two sons, Carel Antonius Caminada (1829-1921) and Joannes Antonius Caminada (1830-1887) had an instrument making business in Rotterdam.
1867: The other two sons, Petrus or Pieter Caminada (1837-1922) and Hendricus Johannes Caminada (1842-1882) settled in Den Haag as instrument makers under the name of Gebr. P en H Caminada > THE MAKERS OF THE CAMELBACK.
In 1916 there were 23 people employed at Gebr. Caminada Den Haag.
1927: The company Gebr. Caminada Den Haag changed its name to the N.V. Electrische en Optische Handel-Maatschappij v/h Gebr. P H Caminada, te Den Haag.
On the Caminada telegraph key you can read with a magnifying glass the inscription GEBRS. / CAMINADA on the left side of the bridge, meaning the brothers P & H Caminada, and 痴 HAGE on the right side of the trunnion (bridge), meaning 壮-Gravenhage (Den Haag or The Hague).
On the bottom, in the wood, is engraved 38.
In the bend of the arm, a very small bit of brass missing.
There is still a Caminada descendent living in the Netherlands, namely Eric Caminada Nijenheim 22-32, 3704 AR Zeist Nederland
The woods used with this remarkable key:
1) For the base: Mahogany, a reddish-brown color, which darkens over time, and displays a reddish sheen when polished. It has excellent workability, and is very durable. Much of the first-quality furniture made in the American colonies from the mid-18th century, when the wood first became available to American craftsmen, was made of mahogany. Mahogany is still widely used for fine furniture; however, the rarity of Cuban mahogany and the over-harvesting of Honduras mahogany have diminished their use. Mahogany also resists wood rot, making it attractive in boat construction. It is also often used for musical instruments.
2) For the knob: Ebony is one of the most intensely black woods known, which, combined with its very high density (it is one of the woods that sink in water), fine texture, and ability to polish very smoothly, has made it very valuable as an ornamental wood.