Author Topic: Interesting find at work - A Siemens Brothers PAX!  (Read 4234 times)

Offline Stephen Furley

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Interesting find at work - A Siemens Brothers PAX!
« on: July 23, 2011, 06:02:56 PM »
I haven't posted here for about eighteen months, and haven't done much with my 'phones in that time, just been too busy.  Part of the reason for this has been due to a major rebuilding/refurbishment project at work.

A few months ago I received an e-mail from one of the building contractors asking what the '1950s IT cabinet' in riser A was, and could they get rid of it as it was in the way of a large hole which they needed to make in a wall to bring in the new electrical supply for that floor.  We lave lots of risers, and I wasn't sure which was 'A', so I called back and asked him to show me.  He took me to one of the very few risers which I've never been in.  Just inside the door was a large 120 V solid state rectifier in poor condition, and with most of the 'works' missing.  I don't know what this had been used for; I had seen it a few times  from the corridor when the door to the riser had been open.  However, on the opposite wall was what had to be disposed of.  It was a green metal cabinet marked 'Siemens Brothers' on the front.  I removed the front cover, and it turned out to be a small rotary exchange.  Another box mounted on the wall contained the ringing machine, and on the other side of the main cabinet were a test unit, and a wooden box which served as the main frame.  Strangely, it was set up for two-digit numbers.  He then took me to the floor above, where there was what was obviously the power supply for it.

We only had a few days to shift it, and it was very heavy; four of us could only just move it, but being small, and in good condition, I thought somebody might want it.  I posted an offer on a telecomms newsgroup, and we had several expressions of interest.  The first was from somebody who thought it was something small enough for him to put on his desk (not quite!).  The second was from a museum in Wales which mainly collects large Diesel engines from pumping stations etc.  They took it, and within a few days had it set up and working.

I went to see our longest-serving member of staff, who is retiring this month.  He started at the College in 1969.  I asked if he remembered two-digit telephone numbers being in use, and he did.  He said that when he first started people had two telephones on their desk, one on a direct exchange line for external calls, and another for internal calls.  The Siemens system turned out to be what was used for the internal system.  When we moved the main cabinet we found some old maintenance records behind it.  Most of it seems to have been taken out of use in late 1969, with just a handful of numbers remaining in use until early in 1971 for some unknown reason.

We also found the 1969 edition of the internal telephone directory, which included several things which we no longer have, including 'Letterpress Shop', 'Composing Room' and a sign of things to come, 'Computer Room'.  There was also 'Ladies Powder Room'  I thought that term had gone out of use long before 1969.

I couldn't get a photograph of the equipment before it was removed; the space was so restricted that I could only get about a foot away from it, but there is a picture of it at the museum here: http://www.internalfire.com/popups.php?iid=1137

« Last Edit: November 30, 2012, 12:06:35 AM by AE_Collector »

Offline JorgeAmely

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Re: Interesting find at work.
« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2011, 07:33:32 PM »
Welcome back Stephen!
Jorge

Offline AE_Collector

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Re: Interesting find at work.
« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2011, 01:16:31 AM »
It is great to hear a story about saving old electro-mechanical switching systems. Of the now low numbers of such systems still hiding covered with dust undiscovered in phone rooms, many of them will eventually be junked since no one will know what it is or what to do with it.

I am glad you were able to put the effort into rescuing it!

Terry

Offline Stephen Furley

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Re: Interesting find at work.
« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2011, 01:50:31 AM »
This one would have had only about 12 years of use, and probably not very heavy use, people didn't make as many telephone calls then, followed by about 40 years of disuse, so there was very little wear in it.

The selectors are different to the ones which the GPO used, on those the arm moves to the far right, then down, then back to the left when the call is cleared down; on these ones it goes back the way it came.

The museum which has it looks interesting, but unfortunately it seems to be almost impossible to get to; the nearest bus route is something like eight miles away, and my legs are not good at the moment.

Offline AE_Collector

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Re: Interesting find at work.
« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2011, 12:51:37 AM »
I know little of anything about British Strowger switches but seem to think that I might have heard that 2000 type switches clear by travelling the rest of the way to the right and then down. Then came 4000 type switches which might have gone back to the original Pre2000 type Strowger design where they always went up and down on the left side. So might these be 4000 type switches since they have square covers like 2000 type and unlike pre2000 type?

Terry

Offline Owain

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Re: Interesting find at work.
« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2011, 04:41:04 AM »
Siemens did loads of small PAX (Private Automatic Exchanges) eg
http://www.britishtelephones.com/siemensb/pax36.htm


Offline AE_Collector

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Re: Interesting find at work - A Siemens Brothers PAX!
« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2012, 12:09:02 AM »
Stephen Furley hasn't been heard from here for awhile now but I am ondering if he ever got any pictures of this Siemens Brothers PAX or even determined just wah tmodel and switching technology it is If I knew Stephen's Exchange Station number I would give him a ring and ask him!

Terry

Offline Owain

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Re: Interesting find at work - A Siemens Brothers PAX!
« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2012, 07:51:55 AM »
I guess it might be Internal Fire Museum
http://www.internalfire.com/
although a Siemens PBX isn't listed in their online catalogue.

Offline poplar1

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Re: Interesting find at work - A Siemens Brothers PAX!
« Reply #8 on: November 30, 2012, 10:16:55 AM »
Stephen posted a link in his first post:

http://www.internalfire.com/popups.php?iid=1137
"C'est pas une restauration, c'est une rénovation."--François Martin.

Offline AE_Collector

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Re: Interesting find at work - A Siemens Brothers PAX!
« Reply #9 on: November 30, 2012, 10:24:09 AM »
Thanks for the reminder that there IS a picture David. I do recall seeing that picture back when Stephen first started this thread but didn't realize that picture was from the museum. I sent Stephen a PM inviting him to check in with CRPF again.

Terry
« Last Edit: November 30, 2012, 10:27:50 AM by AE_Collector »

Offline twocvbloke

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Re: Interesting find at work - A Siemens Brothers PAX!
« Reply #10 on: November 30, 2012, 03:43:03 PM »
It'd be fun finding stuff like that in older buildings, disused, unloved, unwanted, and someone comes along, knowing what it is and gives it a new lease of life, either under actual service, as a demo unit, or just as a plaything for telephone collection use... :D

Offline Owain

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Re: Interesting find at work - A Siemens Brothers PAX!
« Reply #11 on: November 30, 2012, 04:39:50 PM »
Stephen posted a link in his first post:

http://www.internalfire.com/popups.php?iid=1137

I didn't connect that URL with the name of a museum!  :-[

Offline AE_Collector

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Re: Interesting find at work - A Siemens Brothers PAX!
« Reply #12 on: November 30, 2012, 10:43:50 PM »
It'd be fun finding stuff like that in older buildings

I am always on the hunt for old phone equipment in buildings. Any time I have work in an "older building" I go out of my way to get into the main phone room to see what I can find. Usually not much but sometimes some phone parts, mainly stuff from the 70's. The one phone "system" that is still readily available is 1A2 Key Systems though here in Vancouver they are usually 10A2, the Automatic Electric Equivilent to 1A2. I did get some AECo 10A1 a couple of years ago.

Terry

Offline internalfire

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Re: Interesting find at work - A Siemens Brothers PAX!
« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2013, 03:38:53 AM »
The Siemens PAX from Croydon is a 222G and the design dates back to the 1930s. We are very grateful to Stephen for organising it for us.

http://www.internalfire.com/ifod/detail.php?coll=8&cat=21&key=3395 is the record in the catalogue with some additional info, http://www.internalfire.com/ifod/listobjects.php?showall=1&act=&cat=21&coll=8&search=1 lists the telephone equipment at the museum (needs updating as more equipment has arrived).

The Exchange Room at the museum holds various Strowger exchanges including the Siemens, a Post Office UAX13, GEC PABX3 and a GEC SE50. All exchanges are in working order for visitors to use.

Connection to the outside world is via an Asterisk box with a Vegastream 50 6x4 (12 FXO, 12 FXS) providing the lines to the exchanges and manual boards. There are connections from C*Net and through local external numbers - the kids always seem amazed when they dial in from their mobile phones, they don't seem to relate the two technologies at all, almost as if they have a total lack of understanding of what the mobile is or how it works!

The display is being enlarged over the next couple of months as two more PAXs are due.

Paul

Offline Owain

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Re: Interesting find at work - A Siemens Brothers PAX!
« Reply #14 on: January 02, 2013, 05:19:34 AM »
if you got a fixed cellular terminal (premicell) the kids could call it as a mobile phone  :D

Is the "operator" we ask for Croydon a real person or voice recognition?