McElroy Typewriter Keys


There has been much discussion about the fact that the McElroy figures were made with the controls being typewriter keys. This is not fact.

The McElroy Brothers did in fact make levers with pads soldered to them but they were quite a bit smaller than the keys used on the old style typewriters. I have given you a few pictures of the control box on Happy Hazard which is a fully loaded McElroy ventriloquist figure and you can clearly see that the pads are quite a bit smaller than that of typewriter style keys.

I put a ruler across the control box and it measures only 2 1/2″ across. If the keys were from a typewriter the box would have to be around 4″ wide to accommodate the size.


The McElroy brothers were genius in their work and they fabricated everything including the keys. It was just that they worked like a typewriter so eventually it was being said they used them in their figures.

Nothing is further from the truth.



Dan Willinger is a ventriloquism enthusiast and ventriloquist figure collector. He has been collecting for over 25 years. He created the Ventriloquist Central Collection. It now has over 100 ventriloquist figures and over 50 of them are Frank Marshall figures. Because of his love for the art of ventriloquism, Mr. Willinger created the website Ventriloquist Central. For more information about the website, go to:

Copyright 2012 by Dan Willinger

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5 Responses to McElroy Typewriter Keys

  1. Mike Palma says:

    About How many McElroys were made?

    Best regards,

    Mike Palma

  2. Dan Willinger says:

    I believe the count is around 30 figures.

  3. Robert McRay says:

    What a wonderful creative nugget about their amazing creations.

  4. Ray Guyll says:

    Just a point of clarification. A few of the McElroy figures did indeed have typewriter keys as levers. I have seen at least two examples of this. They were real typewriter keys and the letters were still visable.

  5. John says:

    Dan I just love these posts with up close views of your figures. They are very help when trying to come up with mechanics designs.

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