Monday, September 08, 2014

Mystery bell

BellI'm writing this sat at the kitchen table in my sisters house while dog sitting.

The house is one half of a pair of cottages and mooching around, I notice a rusty bell on an outside wall.

It's obviously not worked for many years but I'm wondering what it was for originally. My guess is a repeater for the telephone bell - in the days before mobiles and wireless phones, you couldn't take one with you in your pocket so if you didn't want to miss a call, this bell would ring and you'd rush indoors to answer it.

It seems a bit of a grand feature for a cottage though. Presumably this was something you had to pay for probably quite handsomely, so you'd need to be answering some pretty vital calls if you wanted one. Perhaps there was an element of showing off too. Every time the bell rang it told the neighbours, "I'm important enough to have a telephone.", much like some people think a Bluetooth headset does today.

Are there any telephone engineers out there who can expand on this? I'm thinking it's a pretty neat detail to add to a model building but I'd like to get it right.

9 comments:

Tanllan said...

Hi Phil,

It looks like an external telephone bell to me have a look at this link

We used to have one over the door at Stonehenge Works so that we could hear the phone ring when we were working out in the yard

For more historical info about telephones and exchanges check out these links

Odds said...

We have one on our house. It's always been there. We know the plot was once a lot bigger than it is now and so would have required an outside repeater bell to reach the outbuildings at the end of the garden.
We also had one at our house when I was a kid. Once again, so Dad could hear the phone if Mum was shopping. Fairly common in the countryside.

Andy in Germany said...

Looks identical to the repeater in the carpentry workshop. Could it be that someone had a workshop in the garden (possibly with noise) that needed to know when the phone rang?

Anonymous said...

My maternal grandparents had one like this so that my grandfather could hear the phone when he was working in the yard.

There was also one inside my flat when I moved in. It wasn't connected, but I assume it was so that the phone could be heard throughout the whole house when it had been a business some decades ago.

Ken555 said...

http://www.samhallas.co.uk/collection/subs_apps.htm for some details

Graham Minshull said...

Hi phil it is just asking you to restore it just like your post above

Richard Huss said...

Ah, my parents have one of those - so that my dad (a now-retired hospital doctor) could hear the phone out in the garden if he was needed at work PDQ.

Theirs is connected through a BT Switch 2A so it can be turned off then not needed.

Phil Parker said...

Ah, so it's a 64D Bell. And why did you have to mention restoring it? Now I really want to do that...

Mark said...

There is a single bell version on one of the sprues in one of the PECO lineside kits number LK-78. Obviously not an exact match but may well be easier than trying to scratch build such a small detail.