Gower-Bell telephone transmitter, Post Office pattern with porcelain mouthpiece, made by Scott and Wollaston, England, 1881.
The Gower-Bell telephone was one of the earliest telephones adopted by the General Post Office, and continued to be that standard for many years, with a few minor modifications. It became known as the universal telephone, as it could operate under any conditions that the Post Office found when installing it. Due to the size of the receiver, it could not be lifted to the ear like previous telephone models. Instead, users listened through speaking tubes.