Inside a San Francisco Fire Department callbox

-…® gives us some history:

Those things still work and are faster than 911 as I was told today. Huh! Who woulda known. Also in the 89 quake the blue police phones are the only ones that worked in the whole bay. That’s why we still have this system.

Suck it, iPhones! Accelerometer that!

[link and link]

7 Responses to “Inside a San Francisco Fire Department callbox”

  1. MrEricSir says:

    WTF? A bunch of shiny gears? And glass?

    No way. Some steampunk fetishist stole the electronics in the box and replaced it with a bunch of decorative gears.

  2. Herr Doktor Professor Deth Vegetable says:

    These are brilliant. Notice that it still has an actual TELEGRAPH KEY?

    Essentially, the way they work is that the notches on the larger brass gear are unique to each location. When you pull the switch, it releases a spring to spin that gear, transmitting that unique location over what is essentially still an ordinary telegraph system.

    As I said, absolutely brilliant in their simplicity and efficiency.

    • Herr Doktor Professor Deth Vegetable says:

      Oops, sorry, it’s the notches on the medium brass gear that are unique, not the larger one.

  3. SlobDog says:

    Respect the phone BRA! And the tats!

    More of these phones please.

  4. LibertyHiller says:

    Telephones worked just fine in 1989 as long as they could run off the phone system’s power, and in those days, many did. (Onion, belt, etc.)

    The problem was getting a long-distance circuit, because the main trunk to Oakland had been run along the eastern span of the Bay Bridge, and when that snapped, so did the trunk. Calls had to be routed through San Jose; nevertheless, it only took me four hours to reach the East Coast and let them know that we were probably going to be fine; it took several more hours for the lights to come on and stay on.

    The anniversary is coming; do you have your earthquake kit ready?

  5. siobhan says:

    Wow. Super neat.

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