replica of Bell's 1875 tuned reed telephone receiver, 1925-1958

1925-1958 in Albany
Bell Telephone Laboratories Inc.
Alexander Graham Bell

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Replica of Bell's tuned reed telephone receiver, unknown maker, 1875-6. This was the immediate precursor to Bell's
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Replica of Bell's tuned reed telephone receiver, made by Bell Telephone Laboratories Inc, Albany, New York, United States, 1925-1958.

This was the immediate precursor to Alexander Graham Bell's (1847-1922) 'Gallows' telephone. While Bell and his assistant Thomas Watson were testing the harmonic telegraph, Bell heard a sound coming through the receiver. This was not the frequency the reed had been tuned to, but the actual sound of Watson plucking the string. A contact screw had been wound too tightly, allowing for the continuous current that is essential for transmitting speech. Bell's next development was his 'Gallows frame' telephone, which could transmit indistinct speech.

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Science Museum: Information Age Gallery: Exchange

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Object Number:
brass (copper, zinc alloy), metal (unknown) and wood (unidentified)
  • component - object
  • component - object
Donated by Bell Telehpone Laboratories Inc

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