This is neither a Blue Racer, a Vibroplex, nor pre-WW
That bug is the scarce Standard Radio bug made in 1943, a
special order key for the U.S. Army Air Corps. They came in a variety of
base finishes including Army green, deep maroon, nickel, black Japanned, and
black crinkle. Most had split contact posts which made it possible to
adjust with one hand while flying a plane, and also resisted loss of adjustment
by the vibrating motor, but all known black crinkle base versions did not have
the split posts.
the original order was for 1,500 keys. No one knows
if they were all supplied, judging by their relative scarcity, perhaps
not. About half of those known have labels and serial numbers. The
serials are always between 1,500 and about 1,625. Since half of those
known come from this small set, there is some statistical implication that not
1,500 were actually ever supplied.
Some of them clearly have parts from OLD
Vibroplexes. This implies that Standard Radio was a subset of Vibroplex
that was just supplying this key. There are no known advertisements for
Standard Radio bugs. There is reason to think this company was formed to
respond to this one order, and nothing else. The specimens with the old
Vibroplex parts are always serialed between 1,500 and 1,530.
It is a great collectible, and a very fine key. You
can see a maroon one on my website, < www.KT5X.com > I have the original
cardboard box in which it was delivered to the military, with the order number,
Your Elmer knew an excellent bug when he saw it.
73 - Fred