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Vintage Telephony and Telecomms Vintage Telephones, Telephony and Telecomms Equipment

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Old 24th Jan 2007, 11:54 am   #1
Keith Jillings
Diode
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Witnesham, Suffolk
Posts: 8
Default Re: Info on Mechanical exchanges

This thread seriously disturbs me. As a young student (1963) I got hold of an old 5-bank linefinder uniselector and a large load of PO relays (including some slugged ones) and built a 20-line UAX for the hall of residence I was in. It was an old stately home and had "butler call buttons" in every room, so the exchange went in the cupboard under the butler flag box in the basement.

It was very much "my own design" and bore little resemblance to the genuine GPO article with Strowger kit. The local GPO telephone engineer was fascinated, and a long friendship ensued.

Nostalgia is setting in. I wonder if it's still there...
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Old 24th Jan 2007, 4:33 pm   #2
dave walsh
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Location: Ramsbottom (Nr Bury) Lancs or Bexhill (Nr Hastings) Sussex.
Posts: 4,417
Default Re: Info on Mechanical exchanges

That's very interesting Keith. Do you mean that you used the Butler switch cables to route calls through your exchange to individual rooms as they came in? Did you finish up being offered a GPO job?
If you let us know which building and which University perhaps all will be revealed as to what happened to your set up. Worth a try even after all these years. Dave W
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Old 25th Jan 2007, 1:13 am   #3
Keith Jillings
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Witnesham, Suffolk
Posts: 8
Default Re: Mechanical Exchanges My stories

Indeed. There were twisted pairs running from the butler box to almost every room in the building, with a button in each room. It was pretty easy to connect a telephone to those - I got a job lot of antique dial phones from an embassy in London that was updating its system. I also got the old automatic exchange itself, but that was a strange device using thousands of relays, and came without a circuit diagram and not working.

The University gave up the building 20-odd years on. One of the Estate experts told me last summer that it was still in its cupboard in the basement a few years ago. I don't know if it still works - probably not! Relay contacts and a uniselector can't last that long. The new owner of the building is spending many millions restoring it, and doesn't welcome visitors, so I doubt I will visit it again.

What surprised me was how easy it was to knock up the device - it was a long weekend from start to finish to build it, then a day or so to run the cable from the cupboard to the butler call box. Fortunately, I "came by" a useful length of redundant GPO umpteen-core cable.

That satisfied my lust for telephones for a couple of years - I was doing a degree in German and ancient languages at the time, and just needed a fix of soldering and electronics. Strange, the things one does as a student!
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Old 25th Jan 2007, 2:33 am   #4
dave walsh
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Posts: 4,417
Default Re: Mechanical Exchanges My stories

OK Keith very interesting and thanks but you are still not really telling us anything! German and ancient? Come on if you can't say just admit it!
Dave
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