Think I am going bonkers


Maria has just finished decorating and as you can see I have added a new fixture and fitting. My obsession with the telephone has reached new heights and they are now all over the house including this A/B box in the kitchen. It’s from the 1940’s (updated in the 60’s to decimal currency). Ignore the Western Electric crank phone, that’s another story .I have yet to find a phone to go with the coin box or the bellset to fit inside it (No. 33) that could take years as they are pretty rare and somewhat sought after. My eventual plan is to simulate a manual exchange by connecting it to the old switchboard in my office, that now works like a dream.

So in future, to place a call, visitors to our house will

1. Pick up the receiver causing the buzzer at the switchboard to sound and the dolls eye to drop
2. Either Maria (putting on her best brief encounter tea lady voice) or me (in drag) will answer “Operator. What number please?”
3. The guest will request a number and Maria or I will instruct them to enter 2p’s and shillings to the correct amount. We’ll be able to check that the correct amount has been entered by counting the gong and bell strikes made by the two different coins (these coin boxes had a microphone installed isn’t that just brilliant, what if you lost count or were tone deaf)
4. We then dial the number and listen for an answer
5. If the call is answered the guest will press button A and the money will drop into the cash box. If there is no answer then they can press button B to get a refund.

What a delight this will be for our guests, who as well as enjoying our sparkling company and conversation will hopefully have gained valuable insights into the mid century telephone system in the UK.

BTW – plan to harvest my stem cells going ahead much to my surprise. Store for a rainy day I suppose.

1 Response

  1. Alistair November 20, 2015 / 5:44 pm

    I love the old ‘push button A’ phones – as an example of a human interface evidently designed by an engineer. Engineers think of components as A or B or X, not as meaningful names. I have set it as a student problem to come up with better names, but they rarely can do it. Probably because they’ve never used one of those phones and are probably not sure what I’m on about.

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