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Butlers or servants call box annunciator , Boston

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Beachbum58's loves352 of 1781Daisy kerosene oil lamp jar with wood handl~Railroad Patent April 26, 1881Concierge annunciator from 65 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA
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    Posted 11 months ago

    (5 items)

    From a home on Beacon Street in Boston, 1890's? Butlers Bell, or servants call box.
    This was salvaged by a former Boston building inspector in the 1970s. I bought his entire collection. :)

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    1. keramikos, 11 months ago
      raleav, Fascinating.

      Whoever had this particular call box in their home must have been fairly well to do (they had both a drawing room, and a library).

      I wonder what "OWN CHAMBER" was. The head of the household staff's room?

      Compare with this more humble call box by the same maker:


      A neat Antique (circa late 1800s, early 1900) Victorian, Edwardian Oak Servants Bell, Call Box. The box has numbers and arrows and would have been placed in a kitchen or butlers pantry to call a servant to a room, there are 4 arrows with numbers 1-4. The box was made by "John R. Bowker, Boston, MA". It measures 12 1/2" high x 8" wide x 4" deep excluding the reset button on the bottom.


      Life without servants in the Victorian and Edwardian eras was tough, at least for modern people, as the participants in "The 1900 House" came to realize:


      An 1890s-built two-storey terraced house with a drawing room, a dining room, a kitchen, a scullery, a bathroom, three bedrooms (there were actually four, but one was used as a safety room with a telephone) and an outside loo.


      Because looking after the house became difficult, the Bowlers decided to hire a maid-of-all-work. Elizabeth Lillington was chosen, however after a few weeks the family sacked her as Joyce decided that she could not reconcile her views on women's emancipation with employing a woman as a domestic. However, being 'liberated' was not the view Elizabeth herself took of her dismissal. It was pointed out that a woman in Elizabeth's position in 1900 would have faced desperate poverty had she been denied housekeeping work.

    2. raleav, 11 months ago
      I assume 'Own' chamber refers to the owners chamber.. John Bowker was just the electrician who installed this unit. I found his name in an early 1900's directory listed as such. I've also seen another unit with his name on it. From others that I've seen, it's usually the installer's name on the unit. I wonder who actually made them?
      Your link to the more humble call box didn't come through
    3. ttomtucker ttomtucker, 11 months ago
      John R Bowker was a electrical contractor in Boston. The company wired and installed intercommunicating telephones for hotels, university, private homes. the
      annunciator was manufactured Electrical Goods Mfg. Co. of Boston
    4. keramikos, 11 months ago
      ttomtucker, Thanks for those additional tidbits of information. :-)
    5. keramikos, 11 months ago
      raleav, Hmmm.

      I'm able to open that link on my Windows machine in Edge, Chrome, and Firefox. I'm also able to open it on my android smart phone

      Do you mean that you couldn't open the link at all, or that you didn't see the call box?

      The call box was sold, so you have to scroll almost all the way to the bottom of the page to see the original listing. I'm sorry if that was the problem in your not seeing it.

      Here's a link to one of the six pictures in the listing:
    6. jscott0363 jscott0363, 11 months ago
      What a wonderful piece of history!!

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