... The Delta Dummy

This communicator was once owned by Set Decorator John Dwyer, being one of four comms he said he recovered in 1969 from a studio dumpster.  During his time, it was photographed a few times, including even once alongside an ME fake:

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from ezBoard Dewback Wing: ASAP via member TruthBeTold77.  Thanks!

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Then in 2001 Mr. Dwyer put it up for sale in a Profiles In History auction:

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from Profiles in History's 2001 catalog.

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from PIH material at the time of auction.

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eBay's PIH post-auction page.

The auction was won by Paul G. Allen, investor, philanthropist and co-founder of Microsoft.  His acquisition, along with other priceless Star Trek (tricorder, McCoy's med scanner, THE Captain's Chair, costumes, phasers, etc.) and science fiction memorabilia is now on display at the MoPOP museum in Seattle, WA, as part of the Paul Allen Family Collection.  Delta is the only authentic communicator viewable to the general public.  You have got to go.

You will notice two differences between how it looked in the series vs. now.  Firstly, the center jewel has fallen off, or more specifically the glass portion of the flatback rhinestone has separated from its mirror backing, which remains glued to the top of the center hub.  This apparently occurred between the auction and its current display.  We do not know if the glass portion was lost.

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from ezBoard Dewback Wing: ASAP
via Keith Marshall, aka
"Commodore Starska"

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from Michael Davis - thanks!

Secondly, as you can easily see in the above-right pic, the antenna now sits askew.  It's not bent.  The hinge axle rod has been dislodged from the epoxy that held it to the inside of the shell - this (we believe) when it was dropped on camera to the floor in The Paradise Syndrome when Kirk wakes up with amnesia inside the obellisk's base.  When the antenna is now closed, it can be oriented properly, but it does not stay in line once swung open.  Since the bottom shell is glued on, a repair job would require splitting the two halves apart.

Oddly both hinge wheels have a groove carved into their perimeter sides, going mostly but not fully around the circumference.  These grooves are not seen in any others comms, and it cannot be known what created them.  The fact that they're only partial says they're not from an accidental slip of the cutter while the disks were being cut from the brass rod.  And nothing abrading them from inside the communicator (such as a protruding midplate that would rub every time the antenna was opened) could create the extended length of these grooves.

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Two other oddities about this version over the other known originals... the mic grill was installed with the diamond embossed tips pointed down into the prop (concave) rather than upward (convex).  Also the bottom shell has the dimple impressions intended for screws, but no holes were ever drilled, so the shell was glued to the midplate.  These empty dimples make the comm especially easy to ID from screen caps.

We have written prior about the curious moiré bezel ring, which has a thicker rim than any other, plus is without any side grooves.  It looks to be almost raw pipe with the sides marred with glue, which hints at the mad rush Wah must have been in at the end to complete the props for delivery to the studio.

Delta was also featured in a 2016 Smithsonian documentary during the show's 50th anniversary, and here are the key screencaps from that show:

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Delta's Jewels

While Delta is of course available for public viewing, two of its three rhinestones are now missing, and so screencaps and dated photos must be used to determine their colors.  The surviving right gem is assuredly a 16ss Siam.  To judge the center, however, we have a grand total of seven images to go on:

The only two choices are Light Siam and Hyacinth:

Given the lack of any orange or yellow flashes in the jewel in any of those vintage pics, figure the center red was a 16ss Light Siam.

As to the left jewel, it was already missing by the time the prop had its great late-1st season close-up on the grass in This Side of Paradise, with only a trace of old glue or the gem's mirror backing remaining atop its slot car hub.  However, in a stroke of luck, the rhinestone was caught on film once before then, in What Are Little Girls Made Of?:

Any number of AB-coated stones can reflect cyan off their facets, but that momentary change to green in the fourth frame above tells us we're not seeing a reflection but a refraction - light pasing through the glass.  And of the few types that would readily refract those two colors, the most logical pick would be a 20ss Emerald AB, the same as is also assuredly on Beta, Gamma, Epsilon and Kappa...

That makes our choice of Delta's original rhinestones as follows (which by the way is the same as in Gamma):




Top Choice

Other Possibilities

20ss Emerald AB

20ss Blue Zircon AB
16 or 20ss Emerald
16 or 20ss Blue Zircon

16ss Light Siam

16ss Hyacinth

16ss Siam

Delta's Moiré Pattern

The "Fall" image from The Science of Moiré Patterns book cover was the source for both Delta and Iota:

More information on its moiré pattern can be found on our A Moiré Story page.  And a high-resolution print-ready scan of the original source material can be found here.

Delta's Broken Axle

So what was the jarring incident that snapped the axle loose from the shell epoxy?  While we can't ever be 100% sure, you'll find no better candidate than this:

It was proving difficult to identify this prop with any confidence, given its distance and the darkness, untill we saw the empty dimple holes:

What we can't determine is if the antenna was dislodged at this moment or if the impact merely weakened the axle bond, and it broke free later. Delta does show up in action at least one more time after, in Spock's Brain, though the antenna's opening is obsured and can't be judged to be challenging or not to the actor.

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