Vibroplex J-36 Ser#159 - N8UX The J-36 Bug Census Project

Update: January 9, 2017 - Thanks to Jeff, WR2E , the suggestion and reminder to add the link to view the submitted data. 73 es zut tu... de Rich, N8UX.

This page has been created to gather information on existing Signal Corp J-36 bug type telegraph keys, in order to calculate estimated production numbers of the various manufacturers and orders.

If you have a J-36, be it manufactured by Vibroplex, Bunnell, Lionel, or Brooklyn Metal Stamping Co. (scarce), or know of anyone in your radio club or community that may have one, I want to hear from you!

What Information Do I Need?

The information required is located on most of the nameplates. This consists of:

  • Manufacturer - Vibroplex, Bunnell, Lionel, or Brooklyn Metal Stamping (BMS).
  • Serial Number
  • Order Number - Will look something like this - 21984-Phila-42.
  • Date - Something like 6-27-42.
  • And any other distinguishing or unusual markings.
  • Optional, but highly desired - A .JPG photo of the nameplate and/or entire bug.
  • It is assumed that Lionel J-36 bugs have an order number of 7861-Phila-43 and a date of 1942, but please double check to make sure your Lionel has this order number.
    It is also assumed that Bunnells have the order number of 6001-Phila-43 and a date of 8-4-42, but again, please verify this on your Bunnells.

    Your particular bug may not have all of this information on it. Most Lionels no longer have their original nameplates, or reproductions have been applied in their place. If so, please state that it is indeed a repro plate. There are some Vibroplex transitional variants that have no stamped numbers - please let me know if that is the case. The author is aware of the various order numbers, and dates that correspond to them. But please include all the information so as to maintain the accuracy of this census. Basically, the more descriptive you are, the better.

    Click Here to submit your J36 Key Information.

    Click Here to go view the submitted data.

    I welcome and encourage .JPG photos of your keys. Please include your callsign (if available) or name in the titles of the files, and send these to the follwing address:



    My thanks go out to Paul Bock, K4MSG, for his excellent research and article in the July 1998 issue of the Vail Correspondent, as well as Yann, F5LAW, Mitch, W4OA, Lynn, N7CFO, Tony, WA4JQS, the Morsecode and CW mailing lists, and all of those who have so far contributed data to this project.

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