Nikey paddles have the distinction of being the first iambic paddle advertised in QST (in 1962). Apparently there were two different manufacturers, although I don't know if that means one company with two different names or two different companies. Correspondence with Tom French indicates that the Lefor came before the Productive Tool paddle, but that they were close together timewise, both in the early 1960s. At least one version with an unpainted base has been seen in another collection. There is a very interesting QST article (July 1961) by Nicholas Lefor, W2BIQ, which describes the iambic independent actuating switch approach of the Nikey. The article also describes advantages of having the mechanism separated from the electronics of the keyer. Also discussed is the assembly of what may be the first Nikey from model shop and hardware store parts (and that seems to support Tom French's belief that the Lefor came before the Productive Tool version). Spring tension on this presumably first Nikey was from a discarded bug spring.

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