Bell for Sinclair line selector, 1880-1890

Made:
1880-1890 in United Kingdom

Bell for Sinclair line selector, probably made by the National Telephone Company, British, 1880-1890.

This was the first attempt at an automatic telephone exchange in Great Britain. It was invented by Dane Sinclair, an engineer at the National Telephone Company in Scotland, and was used in one of their exchanges installed at Coatbridge, near Glasgow, in 1886, six years before the first automatic exchange was set up in the USA in 1892. The exchange had up to six subscribers, and the automatic switchboard removed the need for an operator at the branch level exchange (the exchange to connect the six subscriber lines to each other). Connections at the central exchange (to other branch networks) still required an operator. It functioned using electro-magnets and clockwork mechanisms.

On display

Science Museum: Information Age Gallery: Exchange

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Details

Category:
Telecommunications
Object Number:
1915-251/3
type:
bell
taxonomy:
  • furnishing and equipment
  • sound device
  • idiophone
  • struck idiophone
  • percussion idiophone
credit:
Donated by the General Post Office
status:
Permanent collection

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