Phonemandave Presents Police Related Communication Devices

Misc. Telephones and Police Related

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Police Dark Lanterns

C. 1880's - 1930's - These "Dark Lanterns" (also called "Flashlights" & "Dead Flame Lanterns") were the portable lighting of the policeman in the later 1800's until the early 1930's. There were various manufacturers in the U.S. and England. Early on, the fuel used was whale oil followed later by coal oil. There were different variations produced over the years although all very similar. Most were made of tin with a japanned finish or for a few more dollars you could opt for brass. Either way, the metal was very thin to keep them lightweight.  They had "bullseye" lens to direct the light in a specific direction which was available in 2 3/4" and 3".

Most later models had 3" lens. A sliding light shield was used to black out the light and was operated by either a small sliding knob near the bottom edge of the light or later, a lever at the top where the thumb was used allowing for single hand use. These flashlights could be attached to the belt as well as heldheld.

Pictured are both tin and brass types and both have a 2 3/4" lens. The tin model is 7" tall with the sliding knob to shield the light. The brass one is 8" tall with the thumb operated shield lever at top. Additionally, they both use different style font and wicks.

Gamewell Pre 1911

Gamewell Police Call Box Inside the Gamewell Pre 1911 Selector Rare Gamewell Mouthpiece Gamewell D43821
This early Gamewell Call Box was manufactured prior to 1911 when the Gamewell Co. was at its original location in New York, NY. Very large and heavy box at more than 80 pounds, measuring greater than 20"H x 13"W x7 1/2"D. It is equipped with a rare 7 position selector.

Equipped with an all metallic mouthpiece and a very rare receiver cap marked GAMEWELL D43821

Note: This specific call box was used in Philadelphia, PA.

Gamewell 1930's

Gamewell 1930's Police Call Box Wiring Interior View
This Gamewell Call Box was manufactured after the Gamewell Co. had moved to Newton, Mass. Most likely this one was produced sometime between 1928 and 1937. It is slightly smaller and somewhat lighter than the earlier model. It is equipped with a later style Western Electric E1 handset.

Note: The number plate on the door is a reproduction using Sgt. Joe Friday's badge number. Remember Dragnet? Currently trying to obtain an original.

Sonoscope or Water Phone

outer case of Sonoscope-Click to view larger view Click to view detail Click for detail
Interesting enough, I live in a very small northwestern town with a population of under 1000. I experienced a plumbing leak and the Water Company representative came to the house to locate the leak. He used one of these. I thought, I would love to have one as it is a tool unlikely to be used anywhere else in this day and age. I found one so I had to add it to the site.

It is so simple, you remove the cork protector from the pointed end of the rod, placing the point of the rod against the outside of the pipes, put your ear against the telephone receiver and listen for the leak. The simple diaphragm inside the cap amplifies the sound. telephone/police related