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

Made:
1880-1890 in United Kingdom

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.

Details

Category:
Telecommunications
Object Number:
1915-251/2
Materials:
brass (copper, zinc alloy), copper (alloy, ivory, steel (metal) and wood (unidentified)
type:
electric switch
taxonomy:
  • component - object
credit:
Donated by the General Post Office