Mechanical telephone, 1880-1920

Made:
1880-1920 in United Kingdom
maker:
Unknown

Buy this image as a print 

Buy

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

License

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

Mechanical telephone, used for communicating between two places a short distance apart, unknown maker, probably British, 1880-1920.

Mechanical telephones work by using a very taught wire between two points, along which vibrations can travel. As they contained no electrical transmitting or receiving devices, mechanical telephones didn't infringe Bell's telephone patents. Therefore they were popular as an alternative method of short range communication during the early years of the telephone, when sets were expensive. These examples were probably used in a railway office or yard.

Details

Category:
Telecommunications
Object Number:
1923-439
Materials:
copper (alloy), metal (unknown), paint and wood (unidentified)
Measurements:
each: 100 mm x 235 mm x 235 mm, 2.27 kg
type:
telephone
taxonomy:
  • component - object
credit:
From the British Railways Board Records Office