KPH Kleinschmidt

The Kleinschmidt or "Klein" was an important tool at all coast stations for decades.  It was a paper tape punch that produced tapes in the Wheatstone code.  These were read by keying heads for the automatic transmission of everything from the station's "wheel" to press and weather.

MRHS member Richard Dillman saw his first Klein in 1972 when he visited KFS.  He writes:

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When I saw a KFS Morse operator, wearing the traditional green eye shade, punching a tape on a Klein, I know I had to have one.  It took me almost 20 years to find one but at the Foothill swap meet one day, there one was.  I threw myself on it which is not a good opening position for price negotiations.  I'm sure the price immediately doubled.  But the seller and I eventually came to terms and I made off with my prize.  Later, when we started using Kleins at KSM, I realized there was no way to correct mistakes.  So I asked the old timers how they handled the situation.  "We didn't make mistakes" was the reply.  They weren't boasting, they were just describing their normal procedure.  Now we have quite a number of Kleins at the station but I'll never forget that first one.

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Indeed, there are now probably more Kleins at the MRHS than exist in one place anywhere else.  But up until recently none of them were actually from KPH.  We heard a rumor that the Jack Mason Museum in Inverness had an original KPH Klein but for years it remained nothing more than that, a rumor.  In late 2009 the museum graciously made the KPH Klein available to the Point Reyes National Seashore.  As the photos below show, it's not in great shape.  But fortunately we know folks who have the skills to put this historic artifact back in operating condition which, with the help of the fine folks at the National Seashore, we hope to do.


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The Klein as received was complete but in poor shape.

The left side panel was detatched but present.

The right side panel where the paper tape is stored was in good shape.

The Klein arrived with a reel of paper tape stored in the upper punch area.

Sadly, the casting at the lower left corner of the keyboard is broken.  But we think this can be repaired.

The critical information that identifies this Klein as coming from KPH, written in grease pencil below the keyboard.

We're not sure we agree with the date on the label that came with the Klein.  Further research is needed to confirm when these machines were actually made.