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Gamewell"s Fire alarm box

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Posted 4 years ago


(39 items)

Fire alarm box made by Gamewell. Boxes were mounted on telephone poles in Philadelphia, Pa. If you saw a fire you would pull down handle. Each box would have a number assigned to it and by pulling down the handle inside the box would send a moorse code to the dispatch location. The code was translated to the number on the box and the dispatcher had a map of the box numbers and the locations. Then they would dispatch a fire truck. It was your responsibility to stay at the box to give the exact location of the fire. They had alot of false alarms set off by kids as a prank, not realizing putting people in harms way. Technology has change this system along with so many more. Thank God for 911. Where these used through out the states?


  1. Vol.Firefighter, 3 years ago
    hello i came a cross an old looking pipe piece with a game cover on the side. it is all brass and has piece inside that spins. it has the well known coils under the cover where gamewell is still clearely molded do you have any i dea what it might be sorry for no picture
  2. Vol.Firefighter, 3 years ago
    sorry gamewell cover
  3. oldie oldie, 3 years ago
    Vol.Firefighter, I don't know but if type FIREFIGHTING in the search box in this web site you might see a pivture or some else more knowledgable could help you. Thanks for looking. Mike
  4. Paulbalentine, 3 years ago
    Gamewell 1951 style box (started manufacturing this type of box in 1951) This style is still made today. And Yes, they did have municipal fire alarm telegraph throughout the United States. Yes, many of these are still in actual use around the country, especially in the northeastern US as that is where the municipal fire alarm telegraph was first implemented successfully (Boston, 1852) These do not use morse code, however. Each box has a code wheel which corresponds to the box number, when the box is pulled it transmits that box number over the telegraph wires by opening or closing the circuit to indicate the number, much like morse code but there is no "long/short" in fire alarm telegraph. FA telegraph use a normally closed circuit, which opens whenever the code wheel forces the contacts open inside the mechanism.
  5. oldie oldie, 3 years ago
    Paulbalentine, thanks for the information. Mike
  6. JennHoey JennHoey, 3 years ago
    My Dad had the box, with the guts removed. We had it on our wall in the kitchen, when you opened it , the phone was inside! LOL

  7. Gargoyler, 8 months ago
    Before messing with "restoring" one of these antique fire alarm boxes I urge folks to read more about them and why they should leave them alone and in their original, intact, antique condition whenever practical. Anyone can slap some red paint on these after sandblasting and have their box look exactly like everyone elses' box, and make them look like they might be fiberglas reproductions from China instead of the 100 year old antiques they are. Why would you want a 100 year old antique to look like it just shipped over from China? You can't reproduce a 100 year old patina, once it's destroyed it's gone, each box has a patina as unique as a fingerprint, don't do the wrong thing and ruin an antique for a silly FAD! Do the research before messing with these, oiling htem, sandblasting, repainting or altering them, remember- each of you are only temporary custodians of these antiques, every time someone messes with one changes and damage is done, after a sucession of different owners each messing with them there is substantial changes and damages that can't be reversed.

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