Sinclair Line Selector Automatic Switch Board, 1886

Made:
1886 in United Kingdom
Sinclair Line Selector Automatic Switch Board, 1886 (switchboard) Sinclair line selector automatic switch board (glass broken and

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Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Sinclair line selector automatic switch board (glass broken and
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Sinclair line selector automatic switch board with step-by-step sending instrument and separate bell, patented by Dane Sinclair, probably made by the National Telephone Company, British, 1886

Sinclair line selector automatic switch board (glass broken and incomplete) with step-by-step sending instrument and separate bell, patented by Dane Sinclair, probably made by the National Telephone Company, British, 1886.

This was the first attempt at an automatic telephone exchange in Great Britain. It was invented by Dane Sinclair, an engineer at the National Telephone Company in Scotland, and was used in one of their exchanges installed at Coatbridge, near Glasgow, in 1886, six years before the first automatic exchange was set up in the USA in 1892. The exchange had up to six subscribers, and the automatic switchboard removed the need for an operator at the branch level exchange (the exchange to connect the six subscriber lines to each other). Connections at the central exchange (to other branch networks) still required an operator. It functioned using electro-magnets and clockwork mechanisms.

Details

Category:
Telecommunications
Object Number:
1915-251
Materials:
wood (unidentified), metal (unknown), brass (copper, zinc alloy), steel (metal) and ivory
Measurements:
automatic switchboard: 146 mm x 372 mm x 480 mm, 14 kg
step-by-step sending instrument: 140 mm x 219 mm x 219 mm, 4.15 kg
bell: 33 mm 61 mm, .09 kg
type:
switchboard
credit:
Donated by the General Post Office

Parts

Sinclair Line Selector Automatic Switch Board, 1880-1890

Sinclair Line Selector Automatic Switch Board, 1880-1890

Sinclair line selector automatic switch board (glass broken and incomplete), patented by David Sinclair, probably made by the National Telephone Company, British, 1880-1890.

This was the first attempt at an automatic telephone exchange in Great Britain. It was invented by Dane Sinclair, an engineer at the National Telephone Company in Scotland, and was used in one of their exchanges installed at Coatbridge, near Glasgow, in 1886, six years before the first automatic exchange was set up in the USA in 1892. The exchange had up to six subscribers, and the automatic switchboard removed the need for an operator at the branch level exchange (the exchange to connect the six subscriber lines to each other). Connections at the central exchange (to other branch networks) still required an operator. It functioned using electro-magnets and clockwork mechanisms.

Measurements:
overall: 146 mm x 372 mm x 480 mm, 14 kg
Materials:
wood (unidentified) , metal (unknown) , brass (copper, zinc alloy) , wax and thread
Object Number:
1915-251/1
type:
switchboard
Sinclair line selector step-by-step sending instrument, 1880-1890

Sinclair line selector step-by-step sending instrument, 1880-1890

Sinclair line selector step-by-step sending instrument, patented by David Sinclair, probably made by the National Telephone Company, British, 1880-1890.

This was the first attempt at an automatic telephone exchange in Great Britain. It was invented by Dane Sinclair, an engineer at the National Telephone Company in Scotland, and was used in one of their exchanges installed at Coatbridge, near Glasgow, in 1886, six years before the first automatic exchange was set up in the USA in 1892. The exchange had up to six subscribers, and the automatic switchboard removed the need for an operator at the branch level exchange (the exchange to connect the six subscriber lines to each other). Connections at the central exchange (to other branch networks) still required an operator. It functioned using electro-magnets and clockwork mechanisms.

Measurements:
overall: 140 mm x 219 mm x 219 mm, 4.15 kg
Materials:
wood (unidentified) , copper (alloy , brass (copper, zinc alloy) , steel (metal) and ivory
Object Number:
1915-251/2
type:
electric switch
Bell for Sinclair line selector, 1880-1890

Bell for Sinclair line selector, 1880-1890

Bell for Sinclair line selector, probably made by the National Telephone Company, British, 1880-1890.

This was the first attempt at an automatic telephone exchange in Great Britain. It was invented by Dane Sinclair, an engineer at the National Telephone Company in Scotland, and was used in one of their exchanges installed at Coatbridge, near Glasgow, in 1886, six years before the first automatic exchange was set up in the USA in 1892. The exchange had up to six subscribers, and the automatic switchboard removed the need for an operator at the branch level exchange (the exchange to connect the six subscriber lines to each other). Connections at the central exchange (to other branch networks) still required an operator. It functioned using electro-magnets and clockwork mechanisms.

Measurements:
overall: 33 mm 61 mm, .09 kg
Materials:
metal (unknown)
Object Number:
1915-251/3
type:
bell