Author Topic: Railway phone - possible the only one in the world . . .  (Read 2601 times)

Offline TelePlay

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Railway phone - possible the only one in the world . . .
« on: March 18, 2015, 07:57:45 AM »
 . . . or so says the seller in the new BIN listing. Looks more like a phone for the hard of hearing.

So, what is it and is it worth the $300,000 asking price . . .

http://www.ebay.com/itm/EXTREMELY-RARE-RAILWAY-PHONE-POSSIBLY-THE-ONLY-ONE-IN-THE-WORLD-From-Denmark-/151623143905

Seller description:  "Made in Denmark by the company Emil Moller -- When presented for this wonderful telephone, Emil Moller's archivist did not even know about the existence of it! The factury has no documentation about it what so ever. This phone has 3 lines, and the similar ones in the company's huge collection of historic telephones only have 2 lines!"
            John . . .

              

Offline TelePlay

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Re: Railway phone - possible the only one in the world . . .
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2015, 08:21:27 PM »
Well, checking this tonight it seems the seller reduced the price to $50,000 and it sold.

Was it that valuable?

What was it? What was it used for/with?

Three lines each having their own ringer?

Anyone know anything about this interesting item?

The seller put up many more photos well taken so it is easier to see it that the photos above.

Updated Seller Information:

EXTREMELY RARE  RAILWAY TELEPHONE:  Made in Denmark by the company Emil Moller, Horsens. When presented for this wonderful telephone, Emil Moller's archivist did not even know about the existence of it! The factury has no documentation about it what so ever. This phone has 3 lines, and the similar ones in the company's huge collection of historic telephones only have 2 lines!

Dimensions
Height app.: 23 in. / 60 cm
Depth: 7 in. / 18 cm
Width, base: 10 in. / 25 cm
Width, bells: 12 in. / 31 cm
Weight: 25 lbs. / 11.3 kg
« Last Edit: March 18, 2015, 09:36:27 PM by TelePlay »
            John . . .

              

Offline HarrySmith

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Re: Railway phone - possible the only one in the world . . .
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2015, 08:42:49 PM »
Very interesting. The top part with the ringers looks contrived, not a factory piece from the manufacturer. The receiver rest also looks out of place. Maybe something built by the railroad for a specific application? The seller states there were only 2 line phones made at that time and they needed a third? Just my opinion, your mileage may vary.
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unbeldi

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Re: Railway phone - possible the only one in the world . . .
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2015, 08:52:17 PM »
The producer is known to have made custom phones based on the design of others, especially Ericsson.  Some of his ornate wooden wall phones are apparently easily confused with the Ericsson originals.

Given the state of switching around 1900, I can see where it might be advantageous to have three separate ringers for three point-to-point connections so that no attendant would be needed. PBX systems were only in their infancy.

There were indeed early switchboard systems even in the US that had 10 or 20 (or so) ringers in big wooden box, one for each station they served.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2015, 08:54:41 PM by unbeldi »

Offline TelePlay

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Re: Railway phone - possible the only one in the world . . .
« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2015, 09:35:46 PM »
For posterity, these are all of photos in the listing when it sold.
            John . . .

              

Offline HarrySmith

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Re: Railway phone - possible the only one in the world . . .
« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2015, 10:46:01 PM »
So Emil Molder was an independent telephone builder? That would make sense, fits with what I was thinking. Did he use parts from a manufacturer?
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unbeldi

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Re: Railway phone - possible the only one in the world . . .
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2015, 11:11:23 AM »
I don't know exactly the details of the history. His company was in operation for a while and got sold and changed name.

It would be nice to know just what there is in the base, other than the inductor (magneto).  The handset uses a four-wire cord. For three lines only, the unit has rather many connections on the back side, but they may be grouped into three, with some of the designation repeating. I think the operator would use a plug, currently positioned in the center jack, to switch his connection between any of the three lines. On the front there are three such positions, undoubtable corresponding to the bells above. On top of the box are also three ring buttons for connecting the inductor to each line.
Does this "phone" use a hybrid at all, or does it simply connect separate talk and listening circuits?  That could account for the plethora of connecting terminals.  At least a couple must be for a local talk battery.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2015, 04:46:24 PM by unbeldi »

Offline Brinybay

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Re: Railway phone - possible the only one in the world . . .
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2015, 04:34:23 PM »
Well, checking this tonight it seems the seller reduced the price to $50,000 and it sold.

It only "ended", it's not marked "sold".  Top line says "This listing was ended by the seller because the item is no longer available."  At the very most, it wasn't sold through ebay.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2015, 04:36:58 PM by Brinybay »
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unbeldi

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Re: Railway phone - possible the only one in the world . . .
« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2015, 04:52:10 PM »
Well, checking this tonight it seems the seller reduced the price to $50,000 and it sold.

It only "ended", it's not marked "sold".  Top line says "This listing was ended by the seller because the item is no longer available."  At the very most, it wasn't sold through ebay.
Plausible.  The high offering price was to discourage anyone from buying now, yet nice for attracting attention. Serious buyers would want to talk to the seller anyways and at that stage it becomes much cheaper to deal directly for due diligence and to negotiate a price.
I was surprised at the poor pictures in the auction at first. One could hardly see what this thing was.

Seems like the seller is liquidating some collection.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2015, 04:55:38 PM by unbeldi »