Internal telephone exchange from cotton spinning mill
Internal telephone exchange used in a cotton spinning mill, made by The Reliance Telephone Company between 1930 and 1940. Labelled with textile industry process location such as 'winding room,' 'carding room,' 'mule room' for two mills: Clover Mill and Croft Mill in Rochdale, Lancashire.
This is an internal telephone exchange that was used for communications between different areas in two Rochdale cotton spinning mills - Clover Mill and Croft Mill, including sales offices, winding rooms, and mule rooms. These mills began as separate companies, but merged with each other, as well as another mill in Rochdale, State Mill, to form ‘Clover, Croft, and State Spinners Ltd’ in 1930. This was done to eliminate competition between the three mills, which were some of the largest in the Rochdale area and which produced similar types of yarn. At the time of the merger there was increasing competition from overseas cotton mills. It was hoped that by pooling their resources and removing local competition, this merger would keep the businesses afloat. Due to the three mills being separate premises, this exchange system allowed easy communications between the different areas of the mills (though only two are represented on the labels: Clover Mill and Croft Mill).
The exchange itself was made by Reliance Telephone Co. They were a London-based firm who manufactured and installed telephone systems. A sticker on the exchange that reads ‘TR Service’ stands for ‘Telephone Rentals Service’. This likely means that the exchange was rented, rather than outright owned by the mills.