This is the key I use EVERY day I'm on the air now!
It seems this is a key from the collection of a SK Ham, which stipulated that it be given to a "deserving ham" at NO charge, and also with the stipulation that he remain forever anonymous.
He was adamant about this.... and I will always honor this request of secrecy. It still brings tears to my eyes when I think about this gift. The only request (from the holder of the key) was a nice letter to the widow of the ham. (I sent it immediately).
This is what I mean by the camaraderie and brotherhood of CW operators. It's not only a RARE key but to me, it's priceless. I will also pass this key along to another Ham in my VERY senior years.
After a little research, I believe this key (serial number on the underside at top) is a Bunnell Steel Lever Key produced in the late 1800's. The original keys were "solid brass" (even the center lever) but they didn't "wear" well because of the softness of the metal. The "improved model" used a steel center lever to increase longevity.
I'm by no means an "expert" on classic keys, and I could be wrong about the manufacturer, but regardless of the authenticity, It will always be a "special key" that I will always cherish.