Mouth or earpiece for early telephone by Alexander Graham Bell, 1906.

1906 in United Kingdom
Alexander Graham Bell

Mouth or earpiece for early Bell telephone instrument used at Lloyds station, patented by Alexander Graham Bell, unknown maker, British, 1906. The mouth/ear piece is not original and was added by the museum in 1906.

This form of magnetic telephone, patented by Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922), was one of the first to be brought into practical use, and demonstrates the transition from his early experimental telephones to a more practical one. It was sometimes called a 'box' telephone, due to the shape of the cover which normally protected the magnet and coils. It was the first telephone to use a permanent magnet, which avoided the need for a battery. The small horn could be used as both a mouthpiece and an earpiece. It was used at the Lloyds Signal Station in Cornwall. A large instrument of this type was also used during a demonstration at the Essex Institute, Salem, Mass., on 12 February 1877. The sounds reproduced by it were sufficiently loud to be audible to a large audience, the words having been shouted into a similar instrument in Boston, 26 km away.

On display

Science Museum: Information Age Gallery: Exchange

If you are visiting to see this object, please contact us in advance to make sure that it will be on display.

Related people


Object Number:
copper (alloy), metal (unknown) and wood (unidentified)
telephone component
  • component - object
  • telephone
J.C. Stevens (Auction Sales)

Cite this page


We encourage the use and reuse of our collection data.

Data in the title, made, maker and details fields are released under Creative Commons Zero

Descriptions and all other text content are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence

Using our data


Download catalogue entry as json

View manifest in IIIF viewer

Add to Animal Crossing Art Generator

Download manifest IIIF

Our records are constantly being enhanced and improved, but please note that we cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information shown on this website.