replica of Bell's 1876 'iron-box' receiver, 1959

1876 in Science Museum
Science Museum, Workshops
Alexander Graham Bell

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Replica of Bell's 'iron box' receiver, unknown maker, 1876. This was the type of receiver that Bell successfully
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Replica of Bell's 1876 'iron box' receiver, made by Science Museum Workshops, South Kensington, London, England, 1959.

This was the type of receiver that Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922) successfully demonstrated at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia in 1876. During the spring of 1876, Bell had sought to improve the design of the tuned-reed receiver, as it was inefficient and required the device to be pressed closely to the ear in order to prevent the free vibration of the reed. He designed instead this cylindrical iron box. This type of receiver was also used in Bell's first successful one-way long distance telephone call, from his office in Brantford, Ontario, to his office in Paris, Ontario, a distance of 13 kilometres.

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Science Museum: Information Age Gallery: Exchange

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Object Number:
brass (copper, zinc alloy), iron and wood (unidentified)
telephone component
  • component - object
  • telephone
  • component - object
Made in museum

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