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Communications Technology

Northern California Wildfire Destroys American Telephony Museum 68

alphadogg writes: In this day of smartphones, cell towers and wearables, the American Museum of Telephony in the Mountain Ranch community of northern California preserved artifacts of a much different world of communications. But the museum, along with surrounding residences, burnt to the ground late last week during the raging Butte Fire and it's assumed that the collection is largely lost. The operator is vowing to rebuild.
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Northern California Wildfire Destroys American Telephony Museum

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    "Your link could not be completed, please try again."

  • by Anonymous Coward

    There are still plenty of museum pieces delivering "broadband internet" all over the USA.

  • by jeffb (2.718) ( 1189693 ) on Tuesday September 15, 2015 @09:07AM (#50524521)

    If only the Phone Cops [youtube.com] had been able to call in the Phone Firemen...

  • Do you know what burning copper smells like? DO YOU? Well, I do!

    • by NotDrWho ( 3543773 ) on Tuesday September 15, 2015 @09:21AM (#50524595)

      Skylar and me, we prefer the warm, rich sound that you can only get from a pre-1930's phone. But I guess the rest of you are used to settling for your lame digital phones.

      [takes hit off bong]

      And did I mention that we were into that band before they went mainstream and poseurs like you jumped on the bandwagon?

      • by TWX ( 665546 )
        *laugh*

        On the other hand, back when Bell owned literally the entire telephone network from the handset to the central office they designed their telephones to last for decades and to provide good call quality. Once the regulations changed and now anyone could manufacture/sell a telephone, the quality of non-Western-Electric phones dropped so far that there are many old landline phones that have terrible acoustic properties. I know because my parents were cheapskates and we had them.
        • On the other hand, back when Bell owned literally the entire telephone network from the handset to the central office they designed their telephones to last for decades and to provide good call quality. Once the regulations changed and now anyone could manufacture/sell a telephone, the quality of non-Western-Electric phones dropped so far that there are many old landline phones that have terrible acoustic properties. [...]

          Well, really early telephones have terrible acoustic properties, from the simple fact that the microphone and speaker elements were quite primitive -- carbon elements (IIRC) on paper cones with Alnico (not ceramic or rare earth) magnets.

          I think it may of been the 1950s or 60s, perhaps earlier, but Bell standardized on filtering audio to pass voice frequencies [wikipedia.org] in the 300 to 3400 Hertz range. I believe this (or a 300-3k Hz simplification) became an ITU standard.

          I agree the build quality of Western Electric (a

    • Didn't Pac Bell send its old ESS switches down to sunny Mexico?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 15, 2015 @09:13AM (#50524559)

    We are not going to be mature about this.

  • raging Butte Fire

    Hahaha haha. Hahahaha. Hah!

  • by Pascoea ( 968200 ) on Tuesday September 15, 2015 @09:59AM (#50524747)
    I see what you did there.
  • Don't Panic! (Score:4, Informative)

    by RealGene ( 1025017 ) on Tuesday September 15, 2015 @10:17AM (#50524829)
    Fortunately, the Telephone Museum, AKA The New England Museum of Telephony in Ellsworth, Maine hasn't burned down.
    This museum has several *working* switches, including a #3 and a #5 crossbar switch, dozens of switchboards, and other cool stuff.
    http://thetelephonemuseum.org/exhibits/
  • Unlike modern phones, some of those probably will just need the ashes blown out and a new wood case and will probably be fully functional again.

    When I was young, we had one of those bakelite rotary phones. That was a hell of a tough phone. I'm pretty sure the handset would be considered a deadly weapon by today's standards. My sister and I laughed like crazy when we saw someone in a spy movie kill someone with the same model phone we had.

  • The summary shows an underline, and my cursor changes to indicate that I can click on it. Yet, nothing happens when I click on it. Nice mangling of html there, slashdot. Is it supposed to be some sort of twisted play on the fact that the museum burned to the ground?
  • There's a very nice telephone museum (with lots of working switch gear) in Seattle. And another little one in the (very) rural town of Cle Elum, WA. And probably lots more scattered around the country. I suspect that these smalls town are where the old Strowgers, crossbars, and crank phones retire to. Then the townsfolk build museums around them when they finally die :-)

  • ... "raging Butte Fire"... seriously? its called the raging butt fire? W T F

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