State Library of South AustraliaState Library of South Australia

Morse code telegraph set

Catalogue record

Place of Creation: Australia

Published by Buzza Products

Date of creation : c1955

This item is reproduced courtesy of Richard Kraus. It may be printed or saved for personal research or study. Use for any other purpose requires written permission from Richard Kraus and the State Library of South Australia. To request approval, complete the Permission to publish form.

Format : Toy, 330 x 170 x 60 mm

Cardboard box containing a Morse code telegraph set consisting of two terminals, one battery, one "Ideal Bell".

This Morse Telegraph Set was manufactured by Buzza Products, a Sydney company owned by German-born brothers August ('Gus') Kraus and his brother Victor. Gus came to Australia in 1927 and Victor in 1929 after service in the German Army. They commenced manufacturing Morse code sets at the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939 from a premises in the Sydney city area. However as hostilities with Germany had commenced and as Gus was a recent German migrant and an engineer he was seen as a risk to security and interred at Long Bay Gaol in Sydney.  Later it was realised his skills were far too valuable to lose and he was released to make Morse code practice sets and Morse keys for the Australian and U.S. Defences Forces.

This set works in the same way as those used by the defence forces but is of course marketed quite differently and from the 'vantage point' of the 1950s.  It was pitched at boys and was advertised as 'Particularly suited for Scouts." It must have seemed attractive in the post-war and cold war era for children to be able to communicate in code possibly to their friend next door. Espionage!

In the post-war years Buzza Products branched out into the manufacture of Meccano-equivalent building sets, which they named Buz Builder. Their business also produced music boxes and xylophones.

When Gus died in 1975, his widow Mrs Beryl Kraus and sons Richard and Michael kept the business going until 1977, producing the Buz Builder sets. Mrs Kraus died in 2016 and library staff contacted her son Richard Kraus about the history of this enterprise.  As now holding the rights-holder to this intellectual property he was happy to permit us to publish an image of the set.


Conversation between Lucy Guster of the State Library of South Australia and Mr Richard Kraus of Sydney, son of Gus Kraus, Monday 16th January 2017 and subsequent email correspondence.

Willoughby District Historical Society Inc @ accessed online during December 2016 and January 2017.

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